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ACC, AHA, NHLBI Define New Collaborative Guideline Model

August 7, 2013

At the invitation of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) are officially assuming the joint governance, management and public distribution of five clinical practice guidelines focused on cardiovascular prevention, according to an editorial statement PDF published in both the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and Circulation. The guidelines will provide recommendations on hyperlipidemia, hypertension, cardiovascular risk assessment, cardiovascular lifestyle interventions and obesity.

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The editorial, authored by leaders from NHLBI, ACC and AHA, highlights the already existing collaboration between the ACC and AHA on clinical practice guidelines and performance measure development. “We are confident that [the ACC’s and AHA’s] long-standing work in this area is motivated by and devoted to improving the health of patients and the public; we believe that their reputations and processes in the development of guidelines and measures are of the highest quality; and we have been impressed by their inclusiveness and collaborative nature,” the NHLBI section of the editorial states.

In an essay published June 19, NHLBI announced its intent to refocus its clinical practice guideline development process, and adopt a new collaborative, partnership model in response to “profound changes” in the health care landscape.

The editorial provides more specifics on how this model will work. Specifically, the joint ACC/AHA Task Force on Practice Guidelines will provide oversight and staff support, with NHLBI supporting further systematic evidence review as needed. All chairs and members of the current writing panels have been invited to continue to work together with the ACC and AHA to finalize the guidelines. Additionally, the stakeholder organizations whose members or volunteers have been part of the panels or who are part of the National Program to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk will also be engaged.

“The ACC and the AHA enthusiastically support the change in direction that the NHLBI is taking, and we are pleased to partner in this important venture in service to the health of the public,” the editorial states. “[The ACC and AHA] are proud of our ability to generate CPGs that have been shown to improve the cardiovascular health of patients. We pledge to be objective, diligent, thorough, collaborative, and clinically relevant in this process.”

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