From The Conversation: The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) has just published a new guideline for the management of hepatitis C — a disease that is underdiagnosed and undertreated in Canada.
This guideline is aimed at doctors and details recent advances in treating adults with chronic hepatitis C virus infection. It was produced by a committee from the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver (CASL).
As the complexity of medical care grows exponentially, clinical guidelines such as this become increasingly important in helping doctors weave their way through the diagnosis and treatment of disease. As the number of guidelines increases, so too does their influence.
Well-constructed medical guidelines can be a boon to patient care, but poor guidelines have the potential for harm. There are two interrelated threats. The first is when committee members have a financial conflict of interest (FCOI) with companies producing products recommended in the guidelines. The second occurs when guidelines rely on poor quality evidence.