Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 39, Issue 1, January-February 2010

Developing the guidelines for preventive care Two decades of experience

Linda Bailey Teri Snowdon Beres Joyner John Litt Jane Smith John Furler Mark F Harris
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The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice (the ‘red book’) are now more than 20 years old. Therefore it is an important juncture to reflect on their appropriateness and implementation, and how they can be improved in future editions.
This review analyses the guidelines and their development against criteria identified by the AGREE collaboration to ensure the quality and applicability for use in Australian general practice.
The ‘red book’ is widely accepted as supporting the provision of preventive care and is now a key element of the quality system in Australian general practice. This independent guideline has rigor, relevance and applicability to general practice. However, its impact on practice could be improved by broader consultation and by using a wider range of means for dissemination and implementation. This needs to be informed by more rigorous evaluation of its implementation and impact on practice.

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