Objective: This study aims to add non-clinical benefits to the virtues for adopting Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine (EBVM). The objective is to quantify the commercial benefits of EBVM through an online survey of veterinary professionals, giving clear indications of the key areas of non-clinical benefits of EBVM. Further, the study aims to outline barriers to the wider implementation of EBVM and find preferred ways of overcoming those barriers.
Background: A PICO-based literature review (Hauser and Jackson, 2016) found that while there are some papers suggesting a link between the practice of EBVM and better non-clinical benefits such as client satisfaction, a single study, focusing on the non-clinical benefits of EBVM, had yet to be conducted. This study builds on the findings of an exploratory study (Jackson and Hauser, 2017) outlining key areas of non-clinical benefits of EBVM: increased client satisfaction and retention, improved reputation, confidence, as well as employee engagement.
Evidentiary value: This online survey of veterinary professionals (n=407) provides evidence for practitioners, universities and other veterinary staff regarding the non-clinical benefits of EBVM, the barriers to a wider adoption of the practice and ways of overcoming those barriers.
Methods: The online survey of veterinary professionals was conducted during September – October 2016 and contained 23 questions. Survey participation was voluntary and the data used for analysis were de-identified.
Results: The survey responses of 407 veterinary professionals provide quantitative evidence of how EBVM is put into practice, how EBVM is perceived to impact client behaviour and employee engagement, what the barriers are to practising EBVM and how these could be overcome. Key findings are that veterinary professionals are more likely to practise EBVM if they have been taught how to do so at vet school. EBVM is a way to provide value to and build trust with clients. Survey respondents who practise EBVM are more likely to find their workplace inspiring and to be an intellectual challenge and the main barriers to EBVM are: time and access to information. Respondents, especially those who were employees suggested overcoming these barriers through attending journal clubs and other training opportunities.
Conclusion: The study provides the view of veterinary professionals on the non-clinical benefits of EBVM, the barriers to wider implementation and ways of overcoming those barriers. Further research is needed to obtain the perspective of clients and more detailed cost effectiveness analyses could shed more light on specific practices of EBVM.
Application: Findings are applicable to universities, veterinarians and vet nurses seeking to increase the practice of EBVM. The ultimate beneficiaries are those vets who seek additional non-clinical reasons for the adoption of EBVM in their practice.