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Evidence-Based Public Health Practices

Evidence-based public health practices are an outgrowth of the 1970s and 1980s when expert panels accumulated information and then made recommendations to resolve problems. The evidence- based approach as discussed in connection with Developing Healthy People 2020 consists of the use of data and information systems, behavioral science theory, and program planning models to develop, implement, and evaluate effective programs and policies in public health in clinical areas. An example of evidence-based practice would be examining treatment decisions in certain disease processes and utilizing a scientific basis for the approach used, while recognizing that the art of medicine also includes individual factors such as values or quality of life. This technique may also be applied to a variety of public health practices.

Evidence-based public health practices may be a more rigorous method of securing Best Practices than the practical approach and certainly would be more effective in resolving clinical problems. However, the practical approach is more readily available and can be utilized more quickly and then adapted if and when necessary.

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