Introduction| Volume 93, ISSUE 8, SUPPLEMENT , S97-S100, August 2012

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Developing and Using Evidence to Improve Rehabilitation Practice


      Seel RT, Dijkers MP, Johnston MV. Developing and using evidence to improve rehabilitation practice.
      The Clinical Practice Committee of the American Congress of Rehabilitation sponsored this supplement to address 2 critical, related issues for the rehabilitation field: how to develop clinical rehabilitation research to generate useful, high-quality evidence and how to use evidence to improve rehabilitation practice. The 2 are linked by the methods of evidence-based practice (EBP) used to evaluate research evidence and make recommendations for practice. Supplement authors tackle challenges, such as identifying treatment effects and how study design decisions can impact the internal and external validity of research findings, in 4 articles that describe: a 3-phase process for the development of rehabilitation treatments; small-N study designs; the design, implementation, and statistical analysis of rehabilitation clinical trials; and observational research designs used to compare the effectiveness of rehabilitation treatments. Two articles present contemporary best methods for developing and evaluating rehabilitation prediction models and outcome measures. The supplement also addresses issues of evaluating research evidence and translating evidence into clinical decisions or recommendations. An overview of tools that EBP adherents have developed to help the clinician find, synthesize, and apply evidence is presented, followed by an article that identifies 8 primary steps in the production of a systematic review. The last article outlines 13 recommendations for improving systematic evidence reviews and applying their resulting knowledge to clinical practice. In addition to recommending best methods, the supplement addresses challenges specific to the behavioral complexity of developing rehabilitation research and applying it in a way that improves the health, function, and quality of life of persons served.

      Key Words

      List of Abbreviations:

      EBP (evidence-based practice), IRT (item response theory), SR (systematic review)
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