Background: Clinical practice guidelines are rarely used by clinicians at the point of care because they are difficult to access and narrowly focused, and recommendations are hard to find and rarely actionable. Point-of-care guidelines are comprehensive and accessible, providing users with digestible information curated by a trusted source. They are increasingly popular with healthcare professionals, despite most requiring a subscription fee.
Objectives: To illustrate that guideline recommendations need to be accessible, integrated, organised, focused, searchable, and actionable to be widely used by healthcare professionals at the point of care.
Methods: Therapeutic Guidelines Ltd (TGL) solicits feedback from stakeholders and users at the start of each guideline update project. Unsolicited feedback is sent directly to TGL by users. Focus groups and formal market research are undertaken occasionally to answer specific questions, such as usability of digital products. Key end-user groups (general practitioners, junior doctors, pharmacists) comprise one third of guideline panels to ensure that information meets their needs. Google Analytics and other online tools generate data on scope, navigation, user demographics and website access methods.
Results: Case studies will be presented to illustrate how different types of user data contribute to development of eTG complete (a digital integrated point-of-care guideline portal). Approximately 600 clinical issues were raised by eTG complete users between January 2014 and December 2016 and each of these was considered by the relevant guideline panel. Survey data and online usage data — which can be broken down by user group — give an insight into the most important usability features for point-of-care guidelines.
Conclusions: Firstly, speed of information retrieval is the most important consideration for users of point-of-care tools, and this is underpinned by editorial rigour and smart digital navigation. Secondly, decisions about content and functionality must be based on user data from multiple sources to maximise utility and relevance at the point of care.