AHRQ Research Reviews, Medical Guidelines Featured in Online Clinical Reference Tool
AHRQ's comparative effectiveness reviews and its online National Guideline ClearinghouseTM (NGC) are among resources used by DynaMed, an online clinical reference tool providing evidence-based information to physicians, medical schools, and hospitals. DynaMed supplies information on more than 3,400 health conditions to more than 500,000 physicians globally, as well as hospitals and medical schools in over 175 countries.
The AHRQ comparative effectiveness reviews "are very well done and are substantial, evidence-based components of DynaMed's data library," said Brian S. Alper, M.D., M.S.P.H., a Massachusetts-based family physician who developed the online clinical reference tool. In addition, he notes that the NGC makes a substantial contribution to cataloguing guidelines, and clinicians are often seeking both evidence and guidance.
"This helps busy clinicians make the best possible diagnosis and treatment decisions in the real-time setting," Dr. Alper explained. "It also helps the hundreds of physicians and editors working daily to keep DynaMed current."
Nearly 140 of AHRQ's comparative effectiveness reviews and about 3,000 practice guidelines from the Agency's NGC are referenced in DynaMed. The latter contributes substantially to DynaMed's catalogue of more than 16,000 guidelines by clinical topic and geographic region.
DynaMed also offers screening and treatment recommendations from the AHRQ-supported U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent panel of nationally recognized experts in prevention, evidence-based medicine, and primary care.
As an online reference tool, DynaMed is designed so clinicians can access clinical information on a mobile device during the patient's visit.
"I am a strong believer in evidence-based medicine, and I find the USPSTF recommendations to be the best evidence-based recommendations available," said William E. Cayley, Jr., M.D., M.Div., professor of family medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. "I can quickly compare and contrast guidelines with other guidelines and materials from other sources on the same topic using DynaMed."
"When patients are asking questions, there's no time to gather information from different websites," said Dr. Alper. "Clinicians prefer one online destination to obtain the relevant information, and DynaMed systematically evaluates and then synthesizes data from many sources."
"The evidence-based information from AHRQ is extremely valuable; it's authoritative and routinely used in our reviews," said Kim A. Carmichael, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine and section editor for endocrinology for Dynamed. "For example, we reviewed the AHRQ resources specifically when researching the clinical outcomes of thyroid hormone treatment for hypothyroidism. Much of the other literature was anecdotal instead of being evidence-based data like AHRQ's."
Inis Jane Bardella, M.D., head of family and community medicine and visiting professor at the University of Illinois at Rockford, said she uses DynaMed to make clinical evidence and data more readily available internationally.
"At both the university and in my volunteer work, I teach medical students, residents, and physicians in low-resource settings by using AHRQ resources and other materials that can be accessed and applied globally through DynaMed," Dr. Bardella noted.