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Objective: As little prior research exists about the non-clinical benefits of evidence-based veterinary medicine (EBVM), this exploratory study was conducted to identify non-clinical benefits of EBVM to veterinary practices, as well as highlighting the barriers to further implementation, and ways to overcome them.

Background: A PICO-based literature review (Hauser and Jackson, 2016) was conducted to establish current knowledge about the non-clinical benefits of EBVM. It found that while there are some papers suggesting a link between the practice of EBVM and better non-clinical benefits such as client satisfaction and client retention, a single study, focusing on the non-clinical benefits of EBVM, had yet to be conducted.

Evidentiary value: This exploratory study provides a solid basis for the further development of a confirmatory study of the themes identified in the interviews. The impact on practice from our findings is significant as it details the key areas where the use of EBVM can yield commercial benefits from the perspective of a group of EBVM experts via interview. It is entirely possible that international veterinary environments which mirror that of the UK will find this research beneficial.

Methods: Due to the paucity of data about the non-clinical benefits of EBVM, an exploratory, qualitative approach was taken to this research in order to build a platform for further confirmatory, quantitative investigation (Zikmund, 2003). In February and March 2016 interviews with 16 RCVS Knowledge Group chairs[1] were conducted. The interview guide contained broad, open-ended questions to explore existing tacit knowledge about the non-commercial benefits of EBVM. The interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim and subsequently analysed using NVivo 11 software.

Results: This qualitative enquiry showed that the key areas where the use of EBVM can yield non-clinical benefits are through increased client satisfaction and retention, improved reputation and confidence of the veterinarian,  as well as employee engagement. In order to yield these benefits the two main barriers, time and resources, need to be overcome.

Conclusion: The themes highlighted in this paper provide a solid, real world base for further, quantitative study of the non-clinical benefits of practising EBVM.  

Application: The results of this research are applicable to practicing veterinarians, nurses and other practice staff. It is clear that practising EBVM not only leads to better clinical outcomes, but can also result in commercial benefits, such as better client retention and employee engagement

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