Background: The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is continually striving to improve the quality of its publications. The ATA Guidelines Policies and Procedures Task Force was active during 2017. It recently recommended convening a formal standing committee to review and update policies and procedures for the development of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) and Statements on an ongoing basis.
Objective: This statement reviews the history of official ATA publications and discusses the challenges and findings identified by the Task Force. We also wish to present our "work in progress" and propose future directions for the new ATA Guidelines and Statements Committee (ATA GSC).
Methods: Our Task Force reviewed the publication record of the ATA with respect to CPGs. We also reviewed existing ATA policies for CPGs and other official statements, examined policies of other organizations, solicited input from external experts and organizations, and convened five conference calls and two in-person meetings.
Results: The ATA has a rich history of developing official publications that have been influential based on download and citation records as well as changes in practice trends. Key future issues to be further addressed by the ATA GSC include the following: (i) striving to improve the methodologic rigor of development of CPGs while balancing considerations of feasibility and timeliness and the role of transparently communicated expert opinion; (ii) formalizing a framework and process for development of new Statements; (iii) increasing stringency and transparency of management of competing interests of individuals being considered for CPG/Statement panel membership; (iv) encouraging consideration of equity and diversity in CPG/Statement development group composition; (v) increasing relevant stakeholder representation (including patient representatives) in development of CPGs/Statements; and (vi) expanding future guideline implementation strategies.
Conclusions: As shown by the completed literature search, the ATA has a long history of producing CPGs and Statements with global impact on informing clinical management, education, and research in thyroid diseases. The ATA remains committed to a process of continual improvement of its publications and to meeting stakeholder information needs. Based on the work of our Task Force, we have identified many elements that are needed to achieve this goal and areas of challenge for our new committee.
Keywords: best practices; clinical care; clinical practice; clinical practice guidelines; stakeholders; statements; thyroid disease.