The American Optometric Association’s first evidence-based clinical practice guideline, Eye Care of the Patient with Diabetes Mellitus, is now posted to a professionally recognized clearinghouse for health care guidelines, the National Guideline Clearinghouse.
A database of clinical guidelines, the NGC is maintained by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Guidelines must meet stringent standards to be accepted, and must provide evidence-based recommendations or action plans for patient care.
Posting to the clearinghouse means the diabetes guideline is publicly available for other health care professionals, institutions and agencies to reference with knowledge that it has met NGC standards, said Diane Adamczyk, O.D., chair of the AOA Evidence-Based Optometry (EBO) Committee, which released the guideline in February 2014.
"The rigorous process of developing this guideline has now met the high standards of the National Guideline Clearinghouse, which is truly a sentinel event," Dr. Adamczyk said.
Revised standards from the Institute of Medicine in 2011 called for new clinical guidelines to adhere to a stringent evidence-based approach to development. In context of the diabetes guideline, this included a cross-disciplinary review from top diabetes experts and specialists, and hundreds of scientific papers and studies over the course of two and a half years.
The milestone 83-page diabetes guideline is a pertinent resource for optometrists, as nearly one-third of U.S. adults are estimated to have diabetes by 2050.
In addition to a clinical breakdown of diabetes mellitus, prevention and diagnostic criteria, the guideline also assists doctors in achieving prescribed objectives in diabetes-related care, including:
- Identifying diabetes' tell-tale markers, and reducing the risk of vision loss through timely diagnosis, intervention and action;
- Improving the quality of care for people with diabetes;
- Educating patients and care providers regarding ocular complications of diabetes, and the benefits of vision rehabilitation; and,
- Suggesting vision rehabilitation services or referral of people with vision loss from diabetes.
Doctors also can use the diabetes quick-reference guide, a summary version of the guideline in a condensed, nine-page format for easy access.