Background: The development and implementation of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines involves many challenges. The Society of the American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) has been at the forefront of guideline development for laparoscopic surgery since 1991, providing its membership with guidelines on the clinical application of procedures and the granting of privileges. The objective of this study was to assess the use of SAGES guidelines by its members.
Methods: An electronic survey of SAGES members was conducted via e-mail in August 2007. Members were asked if they used the guidelines, how often, for what purposes and when, and to rank the frequency of use and the usefulness of each of the 26 guidelines. They also were asked to suggest topics for new guideline development and to provide comments.
Results: Two hundred thirty-nine SAGES members (4.1%) responded to the survey; 121 (50%) responders used the guidelines. Of these, 95% accessed the guidelines monthly or less often, 58% after hours, 52% during work hours, and 9% while on call. Reasons for guideline use included developing practice protocols (56%) and patient treatment paradigms (51%), creating education and training guidelines for staff privileges (35%), and credentialing new medical staff (25%). The most often used and most useful guidelines included clinical application guidelines on laparoscopic bariatric, antireflux, biliary, and colorectal surgery, laparoscopic appendectomy, and deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis. Some respondents indicated no knowledge of guideline existence and made requests for new guidelines.
Conclusions: The results of this survey provided valuable information about current use of SAGES guidelines by its members. The pattern of use highlights the need for interventions that increase member awareness and adoption of these guidelines. Such efforts are currently underway.