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What is Values-Based Practice?

Values-based practice (VBP) is a new approach to working with complex and conflicting values in healthcare that is:

  • Complementary to other approaches to working with values such as ethics (medicine’s values tool box) in focusing on individual values
  • A partner to evidence-based practice in supporting clinical judgment in individual cases

VBP thus links science with the unique values of the particular people involved (as clinicians, patients, carers and others) in a given clinical decision.

VBP builds on a premise of mutual respect to support balanced decision making through a ten-part process covering clinical skills, professional relationships, links with evidence-based practice and partnership.

Point, Premise and Process

  • The point of values-based practice. Values-based practice rather than giving us answers as such aims to support balanced decision making within frameworks of shared values appropriate to the situation in question.
  • The premise of values-based practice. The basis for balanced decision making in values-based practice is the ‘democratic’ premise of mutual respect for differences of values.
  • The process of values-based practice. Again like a political democracy, the values democracy of values-based practice supports decision making through good process rather than prescribing pre-set right outcomes. There are ten key elements of the process of values- based practice covering clinical skills, professional relationships, and the inter-relationship of science (evidence-based practice) and values-based practice as well as dissensus in partnership in decision making.

Further information


If you would like further information on any aspect of VBP, please contact us