The bedrock of reform is rooted in the science and practice guidelines, since evidence-based guidelines standardize the quality of care. Guidelines are good medicine and good business.

“The most expensive individual to treat is the one that is not being treated correctly.” — Joseph S. Bailes

In April, we focused on guidelines and discovered that of the current tools and products available to cardiologists to help implement guidelines, guideline text is used most often (61%) followed by pocket guides (52%) and appropriate use criteria (29%). Over half (55%) often refer their colleagues to practice guidelines. Obviously, guidelines play an important role in the care of patients with heart disease.

Desired Focus for Future Guideline ToolsThe top three challenges practitioners face when implementing guidelines are patient involvement/compliance (39%), staff resources (33%) and patient comorbidities (27%). Given these challenges, it is not surprising to find that practitioners desire tools to overcome barriers. Specifically, more than two-thirds of cardiologists indicated that they would refer to guidelines more often if their recommendations took into account co-morbidities or patient age specifications while 60% would access guideline-based information from their handheld device if made available. Nearly half (49%) of cardiologists would find patient education tools on guideline recommendations most useful for implementing guidelines.

The top care-specific topics that cardiologists would like to see for future guideline tools are prevention (59%), diagnosis procedures (57%), chronic condition management (56%) and use of imaging devices (55%).

The top patient-specific topics for future guideline tools are older adults ages 65+ (67%), women (43%) and men (28%).