Why do Family Physicians find it difficult to apply clinical guidelines?

Andrea Pizzini

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7175/cmi.v1i2.610


The aging of the population, in Italy as well as in all the countries of the European Union, and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases pose challenges to the development and application of clinical guidelines. Guidelines have been developed to improve the quality of health care. Anyway, Family Physicians sometimes find many obstacles in integrating guidelines into medical practice. In the care of older individuals with several comorbid diseases, application of clinical guidelines is not only difficult, but may also lead to undesirable effects. In this article, the Author take a review, published in JAMA, as a starting point to discuss the role and the importance of guidelines in patients with comorbid disease in the Italian context. The review analyses the hypothetical case of a 79-year-old woman with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension and osteoarthritis, and describes the situation of the aggregated recommendations from the most relevant guidelines. The conclusion is that, to improve the care of older patients with complex comorbidities, developing new measures and new guidelines is extremely necessary.


Clinical guidelines; Comorbidities; Old patient

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