Evidence-based Practice

The Evidence-based practice (EBP) process guides speech-language pathologists’ and audiologists’ clinical decisions.  ASHA provides a definition of evidence-based practice as well as additional resources that can help guide you through the EBP process.

“The goal of EBP is the integration of: (a) clinical expertise/expert opinion, (b) external scientific evidence, and (c) client/patient/caregiver values to provide high-quality services reflecting the interests, values, needs, and choices of the individuals we serve” (ASHA, 2004). Speech-language pathologists and audiologists can use ASHA's Practice Portal to locate relevant information and resources that can help guide decision-making in clinical practice and fully participate in the EBP process.

ASHA’s Evidence Maps are also a fantastic tool to help with decision-making. There are currently 25+ maps (with many more on the way!). These maps provide information about all three components of the EBP process—external scientific evidence, clinical expertise, and client perspectives—and provides the latest information related to the assessment, treatment, and service delivery for various communication disorders.

Stakeholders are constantly bombarded with new products on the market. ASHA provides resources that provide information about how to make the best decisions about using a specific procedure, purchasing a product, or attending an educational program. There are two sources of information on this topic, one for practitioners and one for clients and families. These are good starting points for knowing what questions to ask when considering a new product or procedure.

The EBP Committee also would like to stress the importance of understanding the difference between science and pseudoscience. The article by Finn, Bothe, and Bramlett (2005) provides 10 criteria that can help practitioners distinguish between the two.