Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) are commonly used healthcare tools that provide evidence-based and/or expert advice on managing clinical situations. They draw on the best available evidence, are supplemented with clinical expertise and patient preferences, and provide guidance for the appropriateness of care being provided. While guidelines are helpful, there are numerous CPGs out there, some of which will vary slightly or may even contradict one another. In addition, they may not reflect local practice or account for local resources. For these reasons, practitioners can be reluctant to use available CPGs and have asked for guidance from local consultatns on which CPGs they endorse for local use.
This has prompted a group of interested physicians and stakeholders to look at how CPGs could better support local Primary Care Practitioners (PCP) by providing access to clinically relevant, provincially endorsed for Saskatchewan's context.
SASK Guidelines are CPGs that have been reviewed, revised (if necessary) and endorsed by
Saskatchewan consultants / experts as the most appropriate guideline for local use. The primary audience for SASKGuidelines are SK physicians, nurse practitioners, and medical learners. Other audiences such as health educators, health authorities, allied health organizations, pharmacists, and nurses may also find them to be a useful resource.
Saskatchewan's inaugural CPG steering committee proposes to develop a sound, transparent methodology whereby Saskatchewan consultants / experts use a systematic review of clinical research and evidence to select and endorse CPGs for local use.
The goal of this initiative is to make it easier to find CPGs that have been reviewed and endorsed by local consultants / experts.
The inaugural steering committee is comprised of general practitioners, consultants, nurse practitioners, educators and other content area experts who are supported by the Ministry and the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH).
The committee's guiding principles are:
- To encourage appropriate responses to common medical situations.
- To recommend actions that are sufficient and efficient, neither excessive nor deficient.
- To permit exceptions when justified by clinical circumstances.
The primary goal of this Initiative is to improve primary care physicians and nurse practitioners access to provincially endorsed CPGs. CPGs are a guide to develop appropriate investigation and treatment plans for conditions that can be managed by a PCP who has access to the required resources. This will be achieved through strong and integrated collaboration between primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and consultants.
The objectives of this Initiative are to:
- Through collaboration of referring providers and consultants, review and endorse
CPGs for the Saskatchewan context.
- Improve access to provincially endorsed CPGs.
- Provide direction to the referring providers and their patients in the management of patients' medical concerns, and when a referral may become necessary.
- Through collaboration of referring providers and consultants, review and update the endorsed CPGs for the Saskatchewan context.
This will be achieved by:
- Identification of system barriers in the current state including access to CPGs, gaps in communication, quality improvement structures, physician workflow, etc.;
- Identification of a future state with improvement ideas and strategies to outline the outcomes that are to be achieved for better physician usage and access to CPGs, and patient care;
- Develop a standardized approach to select and implement provincially endorsed CPGs;
- Where possible, consolidate consultations into a single visit by improving the coordination, communication and collaboration of health professionals involved in the referral process;
- Providing support to the primary care team to help them make timely clinical decisions and to provide timely care to the patient;
- Leveraging existing technology and virtual care solutions to improve physician workflow through easy access to CPGs; Building on any other related improvement initiatives; and,
- Creation of a sustainability plan for continuous quality improvement of the CPGs.
Current SASKGuidelines Provincial Committee members: