Practice guidelines are a project of the Watch Health Care Foundation (www.watchhealthcare.eu), which aim is to collect and present on the website actual, high quality, evidence-based scientific standards and guidelines in medicine (practice standards, practice guidelines, clinical practice guidelines /CPGs/, evidence-based practice guidelines).
Article 4 of the Act on the Medical Profession says, that the physician is obliged to practice his profession according to the indications of current, available medical knowledge, methods and means of preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases, according to the rules of professional ethics and with due diligence. The question is whether the overworked physician is able to fulfill this duty? Is he or she able to treat people with the best and actual knowledge? What we can do to improve the quality of the medical practice not necessarily by increasing funds for the treatment or diagnostics?
There are three main ways of scientific reports usage. First of all, every active physician can individually find the reports in which he or she is interested. However, nowadays, according to the overwhelming number of medical publications it is difficult to perform all the duties according to the Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) based on the original tests. Fortunately, physicians, nurses, managers and other medical employees can use in their daily work life not only particular results of clinical tests but also their summary (synthesis). The second method is using the local standards developed by the qualified in this field medical staff.
Good source of actual medical knowledge about approved ways of are practice guidelines. Guidelines, that are systematically developing sets of recommendations (guides) about specific health problem, are the decision-making tool. They allow for rationalization of diagnostics, treatment and prevention; they are also a tool for providing high-quality health care benefits. Guidelines documents are often used by the students and academics for teaching purposes. They are developed in compliance with the EBM by professional organizations, leading institutions and prominent specialists who work over the specific health problem in the country. Guidelines, contrary to the standards, include health problem in broader scope. Documents are developed for typical situations, the most often encountered in medical practice, usually for the diseases that occur commonly. Guidelines depict the best actual known practices. Not only have they role for disseminating the medical knowledge but also they include practical advices about the law and administrative procedures. They also can show optional procedures also when costs of particular procedures are included.
To sum up, practice guidelines should first of all:
- provide the access to the actual medical knowledge;
- improve the procedures of taking decisions by medical staff;
- help in improvement of health benefits quality;
- allow for the development of tools to quality assessment of health benefits,
- provide legal protection against the consequences of failure of the treatment, in case of practicing in compliance with the guidelines;
- allow for costs optimization and quality of health benefits
Guidelines presented on the website www.practiceguidelines.pl have the features of good practice guidelines, that means:
- actuality and reliability;
Guidelines are based on the actual and reliable scientific research.
- practical usefulness;
The use of guidelines leads to the therapeutic benefits, helps to optimize the cost and quality of patient care.
- accuracy and repeatability;
Having the best data about treatment methods (in the same conditions of local qualities) the other team of experts would create the same set of recommendations. In particular conditions guidelines are interpreted in the same way by different benefit providers and in the same way by the same benefit providers over time.
- answering clinical requirements;
During the development of guidelines it is important to define the population of patients an groups of benefit providers for whom they are created.
- including exceptions, that means situations in which guidelines do not apply;
- simplicity of the language, definitions and logic;
- including in development process guidelines of all organizations interested in the process;
- defined time, after which guidelines should be updated.
On the website www.practiceguidelines.eu you can look for guidelines and standards collected by The Watch Health Care Foundation on your own. We ask for the information about the practice guidelines with which you are familiar. The WHC Foundation (www.watchhealthcare.eu) is going to systematically fulfill actual guidelines from all over the world. In future, we would like to present also international guidelines and standards translated into Polish language, validated and adjusted to Polish conditions depending on the financial capacity of the Foundation.