Are there other changes in this year’s NLA Summary?
Perhaps the biggest difference compared to last year and all previous years is the novel way in which clinicians can access the information. We decided to turn the usual PDF format into an online document. In the Appendix that is found in the PDF document, we included hyperlinks to tables, figures, and charts so that a clinician can immediately access the chart rather than scrolling through the document to find it. This allowed us to reduce the length of the document and allows clinicians to easily go to whatever information or resources they need.
What other links are included?
The document includes links to literally hundreds of references so that a busy clinician can find a particular article with a single click. And we included additional links that take the clinician to resources for daily practice—for example, links to lipid clinic course materials, risk calculators and tools, apps, slide shows, documents regarding coding and reimbursement, podcasts, Webcasts, Websites, CME, clinical guidelines of the NLA and of other major societies, and patient education materials.
What was your rationale in integrating these new components?
The purpose of our document is to enable clinicians to provide better care to their patients. The Internet is a powerful tool with wide capabilities that can facilitate that goal and enable clinicians to quickly find and use what they need the most in providing optimal patient care. A busy practitioner seeking guidance in treating a particular patient can go directly to a risk calculator, while a practitioner who is interested in a global perspective can click onto links to American, European, or Japanese guidelines. We regard this as the first real effort to include the power of the information age in a clinical guideline. The breadth is extraordinary.
How do you feel about including links to guidelines of other organizations?
We are confident in our own recommendations and glad to provide links to the recommendations of other organizations. In general, there is usually about a 90% agreement between the guidelines of societies, with perhaps a 10% difference. All too often, the focus is on the differences rather than the commonalities. I think it is incumbent upon organizations to acknowledge where we agree and where we differ, direct clinicians to all the sources, and allow clinicians to make their own choices.
Do you intend to continue using this format?
Definitely. The content will continue to be updated every year, and will continue to be reviewed by the approximately 40 experts. And we will continue building on this innovative use of the Internet as a tool for disseminating the information on the sentinel topics in dyslipidemia.