Health care organizations increasingly strive to deliver care that is both evidence based and patient centered. Although often complementary, fundamental contradictions may exist between these goals, and the organizational culture and infrastructure necessary to be successful in one domain may inherently diminish performance in the other.
We assessed the relationship between evidence-based practice (EBP) and patient-centered care (PCC) by seeking to identify specific behavioral and process mechanisms, along with organizational characteristics that distinguish medical centers that are able to provide inpatient care that is both evidence based and patient centered from those where performance is either mixed or low in both domains.
We analyzed interview data from 142 employees at 12 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers selected based on EBP and PCC performance (high, low, or mixed) using a priori constructs consistent with organizational literature, as well as emergent themes.
We confirmed that tensions may arise when attempting to deliver both EBP and PCC and found unique characteristics of organizations that do both well. High-performing sites exhibited organizational cultures of empowerment where both EBP and PCC expectations were emphasized; provided formal and informal institutional supports and structures with regard to PCC and EBP; and fostered multidisciplinary, multidirectional approaches to care and communication that facilitated delivery of both EBP and PCC.
Conclusions and Practice Implications
Organizations that excel in providing both EBP and PCC exhibit unique characteristics and processes. Recognizing that some characteristics such as culture are difficult to change, these findings nonetheless highlight areas that could be enhanced by medical centers striving to deliver care that is both evidence based and patient centered.