What is Clinical Inquiry?
Clinical inquiry is something that those in healthcare engage in whenever a problem or issue is identified and steps are taken to address it.
The process of clinical inquiry involves identifying a problem, asking a question, and then searching for and evaluating evidence-based information in the field of healthcare to make informed decisions about patient care. This process entails asking relevant questions, finding and critically appraising relevant literature, and applying the findings to clinical practice.
Depending on the evidence found or not found, a determination is made as to whether the clinical inquiry will become a research, evidence-based practice, or performance improvement project/initiative.
Clinical inquiry is an iterative process. As new evidence emerges and clinical experiences accumulate, healthcare professionals continuously update their knowledge and refine their practice to make the best evidence-based decisions.
The purpose of the Clinical Inquiry Process Diagram is to provide a visual representation of the process. It also highlights the similarities and differences among research, performance improvement, and evidence-based practice, which are the three paths of inquiry a clinical question can take based on evidence.
It is important to note that the clinical inquiry process is not a linear, sequential progression. Instead, individuals may find themselves working on different parts of the process simultaneously or revisiting previous steps as they move forward. This can be influenced by various factors, such as evolving evidence, organizational changes, and team dynamics, to name a few.