• evidence-based practice;
  • pipeline model;
  • conceptual impact;
  • instrumental impact;
  • measurement;
  • research use


Aim: This paper opens up a discussion about effective ways of tracing and identifying impact of evidence implementation in the field of nursing, through the use of Nutley et al.'s concept of an impact continuum, and Glasziou's Pipeline Model.

Approach: Work to date on improving and evaluating the use of evidence in health care settings has tended to focus on evidence implementation as an endpoint or entity, often seen and measured in terms of change in practice. However, the direct application of evidence to practice is not straightforward. Glasziou's Pipeline Model of the different stages through which evidence flows, in the process of implementation, is critically reviewed in relation to five key issues: the type of evidence entering the pipeline; the linearity of the model; leakages and blockages in the pipeline; levels of impact; and impact measurement. The Pipeline Model is then combined with Nutley et al.'s continuum of impacts in order to present a Modified Pipeline Model.

Discussion and Conclusions: The Modified Pipeline Model enables evidence implementation to be viewed as a process rather than an entity in itself, which in turn enables longitudinal assessment of barriers and facilitators to evidence “flow.” By flow we mean the way in which evidence is transferred from reporting or publication stages to patient outcomes. It also allows identification of the multiple impacts that can occur through the process of evidence implementation, which may be impact on the way the nurse thinks about practice to the healing rate of a leg ulcer. Finally, the Modified Model raises the issue of impacts beyond the pipeline, that is, those outcomes for patients that result from adherence to evidence-based care. This Modified Pipeline Model thus has the potential to support individuals and organizations in enhanced implementation planning, evaluation and management.