Clinical practice guidelines are essential to evidence-based medicine and one of the foundations of efforts to improve healthcare.
To improve the quality of healthcare, as well as cost efficiency, clinical practice guidelines must meet several requirements.
First, they must remain current, as therapeutic options, medications and diagnostic tests change constantly. Second, clinical practice guidelines must remain credible, meaning they should come from reliable sources. Finally, clinical practice guidelines must be evidence-based and supported by objective, scientific study whenever possible.
Medical providers, including physicians, clinicians, and other healthcare professionals are expected to use the clinical practice guidelines to help guide medical decision making. However, not all providers are comfortable of using these guidelines and applying them to their own individual practice.
One of the reasons for this is simply their busy schedule. Most medical providers don't have much time to stop to search for clinical practice guidance unless they truly doubt they know the answers to critical clinical questions.
Still, this doesn't make finding all the necessary guidelines less time consuming unless they're available at the fingertips. Guideline Central app tries to improve this by bringing clinical practice guidelines to providers' mobile devices.
This app is available for both Android and iOS and it provides access to more than 2,600 guidelines indexed by organization, profession, specialty and categories from more than 30 well-known medical associations.
The app requires users to register, which is simple and can be done within the app by simply providing your name, email address, profession and specialty.
After completing the registration, the Guideline Central app opens to the Home screen that features selection of guidelines. First there are guidelines that are free for limited time, followed by guidelines for your specialty, as well as the new and most popular summaries.
You can tap on See All to expand the section and open the guidelines in new screen. These clinical guidelines are initially available as summaries and need to be downloaded. The app will ask you to download them all at once, or allow you to download them one by one manually.
Most of these guidelines are paid and usually cost between $5.99 and $8.99 (although some cost more or less). Certain number of guidelines is also available for free and the Guideline Central app will indicate that.
To download any guideline, simply tap on Free (or price) beside the Sample button. Once the guideline is downloaded, the button will be changed into Owned, indicating that the full guideline is now available to you. All downloaded guidelines will be listed in My Library section in the footer, allowing you to quickly access the guidelines for which you have paid to subscribe or you have downloaded for free.
Information in the guidelines is provided in concise, but detailed manner, emphasizing the key points with bullets and tables, which make it easy to follow and comprehend. All information is evidence-based and well-referenced, coming from reliable and authority sources.
There is also Free Library category that includes free resources, and these are not just journal guidelines, but also include drug information and calculators.
Here in the Free Library you can search for and access MEDLINE/PubMed journal citations and abstracts, or access to thousands of current clinical practice guidelines and summaries.
ePSS section allows providers to identify preventive services and get information that is appropriate for their patients, by using the intuitive interface.
Medical providers can also check drug information by ingredient, disease and specialty. This section also includes pill identifier that helps providers identify medication by shape, color, size or score. The results include images of medications which help even more with visual identification.
By tapping on particular drug you would get really detailed information about its use, indications, side effects, clinical pharmacology, etc. There's also Drug Pricing option, but I couldn't make this work no matter what I did, so I wasn't sure how this is supposed to work (if it uses device location or something else).
Next section, Clinical Trials features a database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies worldwide. You can simply search for condition, or use advanced search options to filter the results by recruitment type, study results, study type, country, etc.
Many medical providers are looking for the apps that would help them in decision-making process. This is the reason why many would appreciate Calculators section that features various medical calculators listed alphabetically or by specialty. Providers can also use search, however, I had trouble finding some calculators (particularly CHA2DS2 risk score), although I typed the exact name and I double-checked to see if they're in the list.
Later I found out that the improper formatting was the cause for this, because the number is supposed to be subscript and displays incorrectly with 'sub' tags around number.
Calculators are easy to use, although Yes/No buttons could be confusing because they do not change color, only depth, so users might not be sure what the right choice is. Simple red/green button would work much better.
Another problem with this app was occasional unresponsiveness, so I had to tap on certain buttons several times until they worked.
Other than these occasional issues, the Guidelines Central app is really easy to use by navigating through its sections or by using the search from the home screen. It provides medical providers with access to a large database of frequently updated guidelines and summaries, which are current, credible and evidence-based. This makes this app a very useful tool for daily clinical practice.
Benefit: Medical providers who need access to frequently updated and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines would find this app useful