The American College of Physicians (ACP) was founded in 1915 to promote the science and practice of medicine, merging with the American Society of Internal Medicine (ASIM) in 1998.
Today, ACP is the largest medical-specialty organization in the United States for internal medicine physicians who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and care of patients across the spectrum of medical conditions.
The goal of the ACP is to provide clinicians with clinical guidelines and recommendations based on the best available evidence, in order to help clinicians deliver the best healthcare possible.
This is the reason why the American College of Physicians (ACP) established its evidence-based clinical practice guidelines program in 1981 which has been producing high-quality clinical practice recommendations ever since.
There are two different types of clinical recommendations that ACP develops: clinical practice guidelines and clinical guidance statements.
The ACP's clinical practice guidelines involve the primary review of available evidence and also identify gaps in evidence and direction for future research.
This strict adherence to the evidence has caused some controversy regarding particular ACP recommendations, such as the lack of evidence for pelvic exams in asymptomatic women, the evidence regarding the length of osteoporosis treatment, treatments for lower-back pain, and so on.
In response to the controversy as well as a large number of existing and sometimes conflicting guidelines, ACP has begun to develop clinical guidance statements which, in contrast to clinical practice guidelines, involve review and criticism of available guidelines.
ACP tries to keep both clinical practice guidelines and clinical guidance statements current and up to date. This means that, if not updated, clinical guidelines and statements are considered automatically withdrawn or invalid 5 years after publication or once an update has been issued.
The ACP clinical recommendations are available at the ACP official website. In addition, most of the recommendations are published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, with reprints available to all interested parties on request.
With the development of mobile technologies, many textual and web-based materials were transferred to smartphones and tablets. The ACP clinical guidelines were no exception.
Internal medicine physicians and other clinicians can now access and review the past and current evidence-based clinical recommendations from the American College of Physicians (ACP) through the simple ACP Clinical Guidelines mobile app.
The app is available for free on iOS and Android devices and it includes recommendations from ACP's Clinical Practice Guidelines, Guidance Statements and Best Practice Advice papers.
It allows clinicians to conveniently access clinical recommendations and rationale, summary tables, algorithms, and high-quality care advice in an easy-to-read mobile format.
Upon opening the ACP Clinical Guidelines app, it would try to connect to the server and download the new updated guidelines, so be sure to have WiFi or cellular data activated.
After the download is completed, the app would open the homepage that features clinical guidelines listed in alphabetical order.
There are two tabs above this list: Active and Inactive, indicating current guidelines and those that are withdrawn or invalid since the 5 years after publication has passed or an update has been issued.
In the list of active guidelines, those downloaded after you've started the app would be indicated with *NEW* (in orange color) next to the guideline title that would disappear after the guideline is opened.
Taping on a guideline would open a summary of key recommendations of a particular guideline (either one recommendation or more).
Users can navigate through each guideline by swiping the screen to the right or left, or by using the menu icon at the top right portion of the screen
Tapping on the menu button would reveal all content for a particular guideline which may include contents, talking points for physicians to patients, full recommendations, summary table, and ACP high-value care.
Users of the app can also download a full guideline PDF (which may take some time and space on your device) or view the full text or evidence review on the Annals website.
Guidelines in the app cover a wide range of topics, from anemia and diabetes to pelvic examination and urinary incontinence. Each guideline includes evidence reviews, including evidence levels for each key guideline recommendation.
Some of the guidelines available in the app may be more controversial than other guidelines, but they ensure physicians are following the current and most up-to-date evidence when applying these guidelines into their clinical practice.
Although the app creators stated that the app allows clinicians to access algorithms, a single tool or medical calculator hasn't been included in the app. This is the biggest and probably the only objection I have regarding this app.
Overall, ACP Clinical Guidelines app is a free and easy-to-use resource that may be popular not only among internal medicine physicians, but to all primary care providers, and all other clinicians in need of quick access to current and evidence-based clinical guidelines and recommendations.
Benefit: Internal medicine physicians, primary care providers, or any provider who treats primary care patients, as well as medical students and residents would benefit from this app