This issue of AFP features recommendations on newborn hearing screening that were just released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Alfred O. Berg, M.D., M.P.H., and Janet Allan, Ph.D., R.N., C.S., have written an editorial (see page 1945) to accompany the USPSTF report, “Newborn Hearing Screening: Recommendations and Rationale,” which appears on page 1995. Dr. Berg, professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington, Seattle, serves as chair of the USPSTF, and his co-author, Dr. Allan, dean and professor of the School of Nursing at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, serves as the vice-chair of the Task Force.
The USPSTF, through a careful review of the available evidence, has made recommendations regarding routine screening of newborns for hearing loss during the post-partum hospitalization. As Drs. Berg and Allan note in their editorial, this USPSTF Recommendation and Rationale summary is the first in a series being released to AFP for publication. The USPSTF reports will present recommendations on preventive health services for use in primary care clinical settings, the rationale for the recommendations, and the supporting scientific evidence.
The reports are being written by the third generation panel of the USPSTF, which was first convened by the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ) in 1998. The panel was formed to conduct systematic reviews of the evidence establishing the effectiveness of clinical preventive services. While most of the USPSTF reports will have been published elsewhere first, AFP will be the first publication to print several of the reports. Most, if not all, of the USPSTF reports will ultimately be published in AFP. The full-text version of the reports will be available through AFP's Web site. They will also inform the AFP series “Putting Prevention into Practice: An Evidence-Based Approach,” which was restarted in the December 1 issue with a case study on tobacco cessation (drawn in this case from a clinical practice guideline from the U.S. Public Health Service). The USPSTF reports—including the one in this issue—and the case studies are now part of AFP's CME (see page 1941).
The recommendations on newborn hearing screening that appear in this issue have been excerpted from the original Recommendation and Rationale Statement, which is available on the USPSTF Web site atwww.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstfix.htm. The complete background report is available through the USPSTF Web site, the National Guideline Clearinghouse (www.guideline.gov), and the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse (800-358-9295).
We hope that you will watch for upcoming USPSTF “Recommendations and Rationale” reports and additional case studies based on these reports, which add to AFP's growing smorgasbord of practice pointers drawn from systematic reviews of the evidence.