The AAFP is offering a webcast series that describes what goes into the development of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs).
The series, which was funded through the AAFP Foundation, was developed to help family physicians improve patient outcomes in their practices by boosting their ability to evaluate and implement evidence-based guidelines, said Bellinda Schoof, M.H.A., C.P.H.Q., director of the AAFP Division of Health of the Public and Science.
"Clinical practice guidelines can optimize patient-centered, evidence-based care by framing clinical decisions and supporting best practices," Schoof told AAFP News Now. "Following such guidelines is a key measure in becoming a patient-centered medical home."
Moreover, she added, "The AAFP uses rigorous standards to ensure our recommendations are supported by good quality evidence that is relevant to family medicine and free from bias."
- The AAFP is offering a series of webcasts that describe what goes into the development of clinical practice guidelines.
- The series was developed to help family physicians improve patient outcomes by boosting their ability to evaluate and implement guidelines.
- The webcasts focus on how to conduct systematic literature reviews, rate available evidence, write recommendations that can be implemented in practice, and assess the quality and usefulness of a clinical practice guideline.
In the series of four webcasts, family physician and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Co-vice Chair Michael LeFevre, M.D., of Columbia, Mo., describes the AAFP's process for evaluating and developing evidence-based CPGs, explaining how to conduct systematic literature reviews, rate available evidence, write recommendations that can be implemented in practice, and assess the quality and usefulness of a clinical practice guideline.
According to Schoof, the first webcast gives an overview of the development process, with a focus on examining the history of CPGs and the Academy's role in their development.
"Family physicians will learn who develops guidelines and some of the problems that arise," she said. "The session also describes the steps in the guideline development process and examines the current standards that influence development."
The second webcast outlines the important role evidence plays in the guideline development process and describes what markers make up an evidence-based guideline, said Schoof.
"In this webcast, family physicians will learn how to assess the evidence in the recommendation, as well as the role of the guideline development group in evidence-based recommendation," she said.
The third session focuses on assessing the quality of the recommendation.
"This presentation explains how guidelines are examined, as well as the process through which they are graded," said Schoof. "For instance, an 'A' recommendation indicates there is a high certainty that the net benefit is substantial, while a grade of 'D' indicates there is moderate or high certainty that the service has no net benefit or that the harms outweigh the benefits. When an 'I' statement is issued, that indicates current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of the service."
In the fourth and final session, participants gain insight into how to conduct and report a systematic review, as well as how to implement a guideline into practice.
Schoof said that, in addition to developing its own guidelines both independently and in collaboration with other organizations, the Academy also reviews recommendations developed by other organizations -- only endorsing those that meet the AAFP's criteria for methodological rigor, relevance to family medicine and freedom from bias.