Clinical Practice Guidelines

The American Academy of Family Physicians supports the use of evidence-based and explicitly stated clinical practice guidelines utilizing the following principles:

Clinical practice guidelines should be developed using rigorous evidence-based methodology with the strength of evidence for each guideline explicitly stated.

  • Clinical practice guidelines should be feasible, measurable and achievable.
  • Clinical practice guidelines, from which quality performance measures will be developed, should be reviewed by representatives of the physicians they will impact.
  • Clinical performance measures may be developed from clinical practice guidelines and used in quality improvement initiatives. When these performance measures are incorporated into public reporting, accountability or pay for performance programs, the strength of evidence and magnitude of benefit should be sufficient to justify the burden of implementation.
  • In the clinical setting, implementation of clinical practice guidelines should be prioritized to those that have the strongest supporting evidence and the most impact on patient population morbidity and mortality.
  • Research should be conducted on how to effectively implement clinical practice guidelines and the impact of their use as quality measures.
  • Clinical practice guidelines, from which quality performance measures have been developed, should be updated as new evidence is available, and the producers of the performance measures should be notified of the work in progress.

(1994) (April BOD 2013)