The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), Elk Grove Village, Ill, recently introduced APG-I, a new online portal to its occupational medicine practice guidelines that will speed access to decision-making information that is based on the most current comparative research. The new online tool provides a decision-support system that allows unprecedented navigation through ACOEM’s evidence-based practice guidelines with an intuitive, user-friendly infrastructure and high-speed performance.

Developed in tandem with global evidence-based information-technology leader Indico Solutions and medical-disability experts at The Reed Group, the new system uses Indico’s powerful Web-based infrastructure, which allows an improved end-user experience, guideline development environment, and greater options for third-party integrators. The partnership helps ACOEM deliver its guidelines through a wide range of platforms, including electronic libraries, practice-management, and electronic medical record systems.

In addition to complete access to the 2008 revision of ACOEM’s Occupational Medical Practice Guidelines Second Edition, APG-I offers Web-services support that allows third-party developers to integrate content with electronic medical records and other emerging health-related online applications. The new portal also provides user-friendly infrastructure tools for guidelines developers, allowing them to coordinate and rank literature and panel operations.

All of ACOEM’s guideline content, which totals almost 1,200 pages in its latest revision, is available through the APG-I portal. The recently released 2008 edition includes hundreds of new treatment recommendations for workplace injuries and diseases. New chapters on injuries of the elbow and lower back are included in the new edition, as well as new guidelines for the treatment of chronic pain. The new guidelines are based on an improved methodology, which focuses on grading and multi-disciplinary, expert review of original research and includes  expanded references to medical literature. The new chronic pain chapter, for example, features 1,500 medical references, including evidence from 546 randomized controlled trials.

First published in 1997, Occupational Medicine Practice Guidelines has become a leading source in the United States for evidence-based guidelines used by occupational physicians and other health care professionals. ACOEM’s guidelines are also used extensively by insurers, employers, attorneys, and other individuals and organizations involved in health and safety in the workplace.

The use of guidelines continues to grow in the United States as a means of improving medical outcomes. The federal government recently approved $1.1 billion in funding for what it calls “comparative effectiveness research” – essentially the study of different treatments for the same illness to determine what provides the best results. ACOEM guidelines use such studies in determining best practices for physicians.

[Source: Newswise]