On 14th February 2018, Professor Evelyn I. Unuigbe of Faculty of Medicine, University of Benin has charged Medical Practitioners at the Landmark University Medical Centre to be patient focused in their pursuit for achieving best practices. This was the central theme of the lecture she delivered during a day capacity building programme titled ‘Best Practice in Health Service Delivery’ at the Centre.

Professor Unuigbe defined best practices as a working method or set of working methods that is officially accepted as being the best to use in a particular business or industry and it is generally accepted as being superior to other alternatives in producing the desired results. “A best practice must be a practice which attains certain results, contributes to attaining or reaching set objectives and creates results in an efficient waythat is applicable in other contexts. It is characterized by comprehensiveness, accessibility, coverage, continuity, quality, person-centeredness, coordination, accountability and efficiency.”

She further stated that best practice is the pursuit of excellence in service delivery; as it takes place only in a culture where staff and their managers work together to improve the quality of all facets of their operations. It is continually looking for the best way of doing things to achieve successful outcomes in all key processes and practices of an organisation. She saw it as a practice that recognises the value of leadership, the contribution of staff.

“Best practice is used by organisations as a means of achieving excellence in service delivery and increased productivity. Its concept and application cuts across different industries and sectors e. g. Human Resource Management, environmental management, financial sector, health care delivery.In the health service context, the Best Practice refers to the use of care and public health principles that are evidence-based to promote high quality of service. The concept of Best Practices is a combination of principles from Health Technology Assessment, Evidence-based Medicine & Clinical practice Guidelines.Globally, the Best Practices have been used in evaluation of physician efficiency in hospitals and in the application of health behaviour change in enhancing treatment uptake and fidelity amongst patients.”

The revered Professor of Medicine emphasized that Evidence-based Medicine (EBM) which integrates individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research must be adhered to in achieving best practices. This she affirmed that individual clinical expertise is the proficiency and judgment that individual clinicians acquire through clinical experience and clinical practice; it is reflected by more effective & efficient diagnosis. “Best available external clinical evidence is derived from clinically relevant research and EBM advocates that decisions & policies are based on evidence & not solely on beliefs or expertise of practitioners. It also tries to ensure that a clinician’s opinion is supplemented with available knowledge from scientific literature, and concept of EBM has grown to a broader term of evidence-based practice or best practice and is now used as an approach for decision making at almost every level of health care. With randomised trials, meta-analysis, systematic reviews, cohort studies & cross-sectional studies are some of the tools used in EBM.”

She concluded her lecture by asking pertinent and passionate questions on what would be the personal legacy of the Medical Practitioners,what they contribute to best practice in the institution, are they willing to change when and where necessary or would it be business as usual and what would they be remembered for?“Will they be persons who are ready to participate in team work not minding whether they are the team leader, Consultant or not? Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward (Colossians 3: 23, 24 NIV).”




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