Using EPIC for Evidence-based Care

EPIC stands for Evidence-based Practice Identification and Change. It is an approach to quality improvement that was initially developed in Canada by Dr. Shoo Lee for use in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. In Optimal Birth BC, we are working on implementation and evaluation of the EPIC approach to address the rising cesarean birth rates. Within Optimal Birth, the EPIC approach involves:

  • Assessing and critically appraising the best available evidence on the management of normal labour and birth;
  • Sharing the best evidence with participating hospitals and health authorities;
  • Analyzing the patterns of obstetric practice within individual hospitals and health authorities to highlight potential areas of practice change;
  • Undertaking rapid cycles of practice change and evaluation; and, sharing the practice changes and results with participating hospitals and health authorities in order to encourage the adoption of effective practice across B.C.

We believe that implementation of the EPIC protocol will improve the way that birth is managed, and in consequence reduce cesarean birth rates with an associated decrease in cesarean-related maternal and neonatal morbidity. As well, reducing the number of cesarean deliveries will reduce length of stay for women in hospital and decrease the demand on the operating room, which is particularly important for smaller hospitals.