A Survey of American Thyroid Association Members Regarding the 2015 Adult Thyroid Nodule and Differentiated Thyroid Cancer Clinical Practice Guidelines

Thyroid. 2020 Jan;30(1):25-33. doi: 10.1089/thy.2019.0486.


Background: The 2015 American Thyroid Association (ATA) clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) on management of thyroid nodules (TNs) and differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) in adults were developed to inform clinicians, patients, researchers, and health policy makers about the best available evidence, and its limitations, relating to management of these conditions. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional electronic survey of ATA members' perspectives of these CPGs, using a standardized survey (Clinician Guidelines Determinant Questionnaire) developed by the Guidelines International Network. A survey link was electronically mailed to members in February of 2019, with reminders sent to nonrespondents 2 and 5 weeks later. Data were descriptively summarized, after excluding missing responses. Results: The overall response rate was 19.8% (348/1761). The effective response rate was 20.2% (348/1720), after excluding a recently deceased member and individuals who had either invalid e-mail addresses or whose e-mails were returned. Of the respondents, 37.9% (132/348) were female, 60.4% (209/346) were endocrinologists, 27.5% (95/346) were surgeons, and 3.5% (12/346) were nuclear medicine specialists. The majority of respondents (71.9%; 250/348) were at a mid- or advanced-career level, and more than half were in academia (57.5%; 195/339). The majority (69.8%; 243/348) practiced in North America. The vast majority of respondents indicated that the CPGs explained the underlying evidence (92.3%; 298/323) and 92.9% (300/323) agreed or strongly agreed with the content. Most respondents stated that they regularly used the CPGs in their practice (83.0%; 268/323). Most respondents (83.0%; 268/323) also agreed or strongly agreed that the recommendations were easy to incorporate in their practice. The most popular CPG format was an electronic desktop file (78.8%; 252/320). Shorter more frequent CPGs were favored by 55.0% (176/320) of respondents, and longer traditional CPGs were favored by 39.7% (127/320). Conclusions: The clinical content and evidence explanations in the adult TN and DTC CPGs are widely accepted and applied among ATA survey respondents. Future ATA CPG updates need to be optimized to best meet users' preferences regarding format, frequency, and length.

Keywords: clinical practice guidelines; survey; thyroid cancer; thyroid nodules.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Endocrinology / methods
  • Endocrinology / standards*
  • Female
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Societies, Medical
  • Surgeons
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Thyroid Nodule / diagnosis*
  • United States