In this issue of the Journal of Oncology Practice are the executive summaries of two new practice guidelines, the full text of which are being published simultaneously in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.A clinical practice guideline is meaningless if it fails to help you give your patient the best possible care. We hope you will find this new ASCO initiative useful for you and your patients. The focus of this article is to provide some background on clinical practice guidelines, but particularly to explain a new ASCO program called Best Practice Tools. Clinicians have told us that they know the right things to do for patient care, but lack the systems to ensure that they deliver the right tests, the most effective treatment, optimal supportive care, and appropriate follow up at the right time and for the right patient.
Interest in EBM grew exponentially in recent years, with more than 3,000 references added to PubMed in 2004 compared with just two in 1992.CPGs are being used increasingly to set practice standards. However, a CPG is not cookbook medicine; it cannot replace individual clinical expertise, nor can it function in the absence of patient-specific information regarding comorbid disease, individual preferences, and available resources. If the underlying motivation to use a CPG is to limit care and control costs, there is a word of caution.
We through our words hope oncologists will use these tools and give us feedback.