AAFP Endorsement of Evidence-based Clinical Practice Guidelines Developed by External Organizations

In February 2009, the AAFP Board of Directors approved a process for endorsement of clinical practice guidelines developed by external organizations. Clinical practice guidelines that are relevant to family medicine may be reviewed by the AAFP and categorized as:

(1) ENDORSED – the AAFP fully endorses the guideline;

(2) ENDORSED WITH QUALIFICATIONS – the AAFP endorses the guideline or portions of the guideline with qualifications. The qualifications are described (e.g., target populations not sufficiently specified, an evidence report with minor methodological flaw, etc.)

(3) NOT ENDORSED – the AAFP does not endorse the guideline and the reasons are stated.

All clinical practice guidelines considered for endorsement by the AAFP go through a structured review process by the AAFP’s Commission on Health of the Public and Science with Board approval. AAFP Guidelines Assessment form(5 page PDF)

These guidelines are provided only as assistance for physicians making clinical decisions regarding the care of their patients. As such, they cannot substitute for the individual judgment brought to each clinical situation by the patient’s family physician. As with all clinical reference resources, they reflect the best understanding of the science of medicine at the time of publication, but they should be used with the clear understanding that continued research may result in new knowledge and recommendations. These guidelines are only one element in the complex process of improving the health of America. To be effective, the guidelines must be implemented.