Finding evidence to support practice in allied health: Peers, experience, and the internet Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: Barriers to evidence-based practice (EBP) amongst allied health professionals have been well documented; however, the impact of electronic evidence sources on the acquisition of evidence has not been described. This study aimed to determine methods used to acquire evidence amongst allied health professionals, along with barriers to evidence acquisition and implementation. DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey developed using focus groups and a two-round Delphi process. SETTING: One healthcare network in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia, comprising a tertiary hospital, subacute facility, and community health facilities. PARTICIPANTS: Allied health clinicians employed in a clinical role. RESULTS: There were 166 respondents to the survey, a response rate of 38%. The majority held a bachelor's degree (n = 84, 51%), had graduated <5 years ago (49, 29%), and worked predominantly in the acute setting (84, 51%). Colleagues within the respondent's profession (n = 135, 84%), general internet search engines (137, 83%), and clinical experience (131, 79%) were the most frequently consulted sources of information. Despite time and clinical workload being cited as important barriers to EBP, electronic evidence sources such as internet forums (n = 30, 18%) and emailed evidence summaries (n = 41, 25%) were infrequently used. Barriers to implementing evidence were reported less frequently than barriers to finding evidence. CONCLUSIONS: Allied health clinicians rely on colleagues, experience, and general internet search engines to source evidence. Care must be taken to ensure that allied health clinicians have adequate information literacy skills and are aware of accessible, high-quality evidence sources.

publication date

  • December 1, 2012