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Is your country getting the most out of ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines?

How four ESC National Cardiac Societies are ensuring their practitioners and patients are benefiting from leading best practice and know how

In June this year new joint ESH/ESC Guidelines on the management of Arterial Hypertension and ESC Guidelines on Cardiac Pacing & CRT were announced. With pocket versions of these and two further Guidelines to be released at ESC Congress in Amsterdam (31 August – 4 September), here’s some top tips on how to make ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines work for you in your country.

Exclusive for ESC National Cardiac Societies

ESC National Cardiac Societies (NCS) have the exclusive rights to translate and disseminate ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines for the first six months after their publication and after official endorsement of these guidelines by their (NCS).  An invaluable tool for Cardiologists across Europe, the ESC Guidelines aim to present all the relevant evidence on a particular clinical issue in order to help physicians weigh the benefits and risks of a particular diagnostic or therapeutic procedure. In short, a key reference to improve everyday clinical medical decision-making. 

Czech Republic: Establishing trust and sharing an unquestionable methodology

Last year, the Czech Society of Cardiology stopped issuing itsCzech Society of Cardiology own guidelines and decided to endorse ESC Guidelines. Shortened versions are published both in English and Czech to facilitate their takeup. Earlier this year the national society held its first session exclusively dedicated to how ESC Guidelines are created and their key messages developed during their annual Congress. Covering essential steps from the selection of the Task Force that develops and writes the Guidelines; what processes are followed during the development stage and how they are reviewed, to how the information is finally disseminated to the end users.

“The aim of the meeting was to ensure young cardiologists clearly understood the development process and the reliability of the recommendations”. 

Says National Coordinator for the Czech Society of Cardiology, Professor. Josef Kautzner, FESC.

Chairman of the ESC Committee for Practice Guidelines (CPG), Professor. Jose Luis Zamorano, FESC (Spain), comments:

“ESC Guidelines are developed through an unquestionable decision-making process; it is thanks to this rigorous process that the ESC is able to assure the authority and validity of its recommendations."

Professor. Kautzner adds: 

“The recent meeting has been a great kick off for making ESC Guidelines better understood and more importantly, better implemented.”

Having scientifically robust and thoroughly researched ESC Guidelines is just the beginning; it is their application in medical practitioners’ daily work that makes a real and tangible difference to doctors and their patients. Prof. Jose Luis Zamorano comments:

“It has become evident that application of guidelines improves the quality of clinical practice.”

Luxembourg: Top tactics for spreading the word

The Luxembourg Society of Cardiology recognises the importance of turning recommendations into practice and has made the dissemination, application and follow up of ESC Guidelines one of its founding clauses.  Earlier this year it hosted a dedicated full day meeting with over 100 doctors where members of its (NCS) and other European Experts were invited to present the ESC Guidelines published in 2012. Each Guideline was resumed in 15 minutes, with time for questions from the audience and answers afterwards.
National Guidelines Coordinator for the Luxembourg Society of Cardiology, Dr. Louis Boisanté says:

“To get maximum reach our Society worked closely with Association for Continuing Medical Education in Luxembourg, assuring the collaboration of many General Practitioners, as well as Cardiologists.”

The Luxembourg Society of Cardiology also partnered with its national medical review SEMPER Luxembourg, which managed the logistics and sponsorship of the meeting. The sponsorship also enabled the journal to run a special edition after the event focussing on the Guidelines, including questions and answers from the sessions.
Dr. Boisanté concludes:

“We’ve had excellent feedback from doctors who appreciated the simplification of the Guidelines and the collaboration with the cardiologists. Our sponsors were also pleased and have signed up for a second edition of the event. ”

Veronica Dean, responsible for Practice Guidelines activities at the ESC comments:

“What the Luxembourg Society of Cardiology did is an ideal way of ensuring a thorough understanding of ESC Guidelines, but more importantly, catalysing their use amongst cardiologists and general physicians in their country. We commend their efforts and encourage other NCS to consider this effective approach in making ESC Guidelines impact clinical practice and patient care.”

Kazakhstan: getting the right person in the right job

The newest ESC member country, the Association ofAssociation of Cardiologists of Kazakhstan Cardiologists of Kazakhstan has been quick off the blocks to ensure its members benefit from ESC Guidelines, having already translated several of them into Russian. ESC Board member and active participant in numerous Guideline Task Forces, Professor. Francesco Consentino, FESC, recently attended the national cardiology congress in Kazakhstan and is impressed by all they have achieved in such a short period of time.  He comments:

“I believe the national coordinator plays a key role in strengthening the relationship between the NSC and ESC Central.  An active coordinator has to match enthusiasm and passion with a high standard professional background."

He adds:

“I am sure that the collaboration with our colleagues in Kazakhstan will increase after our active participation to their congress. I have also been advocating with their local national guidelines coordinator Dr. Amina Rakisheva on the creation of a Cardiologists of Tomorrow group, to stimulate Kazakh young colleagues to have an active participation at national and international level."

Dr. Rakisheva comments:

“It’s a great experience taking part in the process of translating Guidelines and to implement them through our doctors. We understand the need to maintain and improve our knowledge in the everyday clinical practice of our doctors and I am proud of being part of this.”

She adds:

“Our members are very glad that we now have the possibility to read and to use ESC Guidelines in Russian. I hope that our initiative will improve quality in the clinical practice of cardiologists and therapists in our country and support the ESC’s mission.”

Poland: timely translation and dedicated congress sessions

The Polish Cardiac Society (PCS) is an outstanding example ofPolish Cardiac Society how to ensure ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines are understood and used in your country. Each Full Text is systematically translated into Polish and published in the Polish Heart Journal, with Pocket Guidelines also being translated and printed with the support of a local sponsor. An online version is also available on the PCS website.

National Guidelines Coordinator Dr. Andrej Budaj, FESC, comments:

“The Polish Cardiac Society decided to endorse, translate and implement all the ESC Guidelines rather than produce national guidelines. The ESC Guidelines cover all main fields in cardiology and we prepare commentaries and summaries concerning Polish specific conditions within our health care system and cardiology practice.”

Like many other national cardiac societies, there is a dedicated session at the Polish national congress with national experts presenting Guideline content, but they also host an international session, where ESC Guidelines Task Force members from across Europe are invited to present.
Dr.Budaj comments:

“The sessions dedicated to the Guidelines are usually well attended, not only by cardiologists but also internal medicine specialists, general practitioners, diabetologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons and pediatricians express their interest in the Guidelines. Last year about 100,000 visits to Guidelines web page were recorded.”

He adds:

It is optimal when the Guidelines are presented by their co-authors and we appreciate an excellent collaboration with the ESC Committee for Practice Guidelines.”

Using the best ESC Guidelines product for different needs

Whether they are for a teacher setting exams or a student revising for one; a physician needing quick access to the best clinical decision or a research centre looking for the best project to advance science to the next level, ESC Guidelines come in many different forms, adapted to different needs. Discover all the products including Pocket Guidelines; Slide-sets, Essential Messages and much more.

The most important bits! Action points for our NCS:

  • Make dissemination and implementation of ESC Guidelines an integral part of your objectives
  • Appoint a dedicated National Guidelines Coordinator who is motivated and has the right skill base
  • Participate in the review process of  ESC Guidelines
  • Translate key messages and pocket guidelines as a minimum if you can
  • Include dedicated sessions at national meetings in your national language
  • Invite international speakers from the ESC Guidelines
  • Task Forces to provide background, instil trust and respond to questions
  • Hold ‘one off’ special meetings for physicians and general practitioners
  • Involve your national journal for dissemination of ESC Guidelines messages
  • Attend ESC Congress 2013 to discover the new Guidelines and how to implement them with the Guidelines into Practice track (GiP)
  • Get sponsorship to help cover the cost of translation, printing, dissemination and meetings

See all the ESC Guidelines here