The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care is composed of experts who develop evidence-based recommendations for clinical preventive health services delivered by primary care practitioners. The Task Force is supported by the Global Health and Guidelines Division of the Public Health Agency of Canada, Evidence Review and Synthesis Centres from the University of Ottawa and the University of Alberta, and the Knowledge Translation Team from St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto.
Message From the Chair
The American College of Physicians (ACP) recently published a guidance statement on screening for breast cancer in average-risk women. In it, the ACP evaluated the quality of breast cancer screening guidelines from around the world.
Among all of the guidelines evaluated, the Task Force’s updated breast cancer screening guideline was the only one that received the top rank for both ‘overall quality rating’ and ‘recommended use’ of the guideline. The ACP highlighted the Task Force’s rigorous use of high-quality evidence and highlighted how high-scoring guidelines “best articulated the benefits, harms, and strength of evidence and how these link to recommendations”. A linked ACP editorial mentioned the importance of engaging in shared decision-making with patients, consistent with our 2018 recommendations and patient education tools.
In other news, two recent commentaries in CMAJ highlighted the threat of conflicts of interest in guideline development and dissemination. Dr. Diane Kelsall, CMAJ’s editor, described that CMAJ will now require that all guidelines adhere to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) revised standards for protecting against conflict of interest. A second commentary in CMAJ discussed how guidelines developed for primary care by speciality societies can lead to the overuse of medical services, including overdiagnosis and overtreatment. The commentary referred to Task Force guidelines on breast cancer screening and prostate cancer screening and used the Task Force as an example of a guideline developer that takes the necessary steps to ensure that its recommendations are rigorous and free of bias.
The Task Force works closely with specialists from the Canadian medical community to ensure that its members have the information they need to develop the best possible guidelines for Canadians. This work is done in the context of a stringent conflicts of interest policy. We are proud that our clinical practice guidelines are “by primary care, for primary care”.
If you would like to contribute to the Task Force see the “Get Involved” section, below, or visit www.canadiantaskforce.ca.
Brett Thombs, PhD
Chair, Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care
Upcoming Task Force clinical practice guidelines include:
- Screening for thyroid dysfunction
- Screening for esophageal adenocarcinoma
- Screening for depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period
For more information about these and other forthcoming guideline topics, please visit the Upcoming Guidelines webpage.
To connect with primary care providers, the Task Force, exhibits at conferences across Canada. We offer free copies of knowledge translation tools, the opportunity to ask questions, make suggestions and more.
In May, the Task Force hosted a booth at the Choosing Wisely Canada National Meeting in Montreal and provided hundreds of English and French KT tools to delegates. Visit our upcoming booths at:
Task Force in the News
- Research chairs: Five outstanding researchers stand out, featuring Dr. Julian Little, co-PI of the University of Ottawa Evidence Review and Synthesis Centre (University of Ottawa, May 2019)
- Three St. Michael’s scientists awarded prestigious Canada Research Chairs, featuring Dr. Nav Persaud, Task Force member (St. Michael’s Hospital, June 2019)
- Screening for Breast Cancer in Average-Risk Women: A Guidance Statement From the American College of Physicians – guidance statement (Annals of Internal Medicine, April 9, 2019)
- A Guide to a Guidance Statement on Screening Guidelines – editorial (Annals of Internal Medicine, April 9, 2019)
- Clinical practice guidelines and the overuse of health care services: need for reform (CMAJ, March 2019)
- La multiplication des tests préventifs, un mal ou un bien? (Le Devoir, March 2019)
- Many doctors have distorted perceptions of the value of medical tests (CMAJ News, January 2019)
(Click here to read more media stories)
Get Involved with the Task Force
- The Task Force Internship Program provides mentored training opportunities to Canadian health care trainees and early career professionals. Please visit the Internship Program webpage.
- Clinical Prevention Leaders Network: The Network promotes the use of clinical practice guidelines and addresses barriers to guideline implementation through peer-to-peer learning at a local level. If you would like to be considered for the next cohort of CPLs, please visit the CPL Network webpage.
- Healthcare Practitioner Tool Usability Testing involves clinicians in testing of Task Force knowledge translation tools. Help ensure that content, layout, navigation and look are appropriate and useful by emailing KTteam@canadiantaskforce.ca with the subject line “Tool Usability Testing”. Compensation is provided.
- Guideline Development for Members of the Public: Patients and members of the public play a key role in guideline development by helping guide the evidence search on the harms and benefits of preventive health care, and developing knowledge translation tools. To get involved, email KTteam@canadiantaskforce.ca with the subject “Tool Usability Testing”. Compensation is provided.
- Guideline Topic Suggestions: Is there a preventive health topic that you would like guidance on? Send your ideas for future guideline topics by completing an online form.
- Newsletter Subject Suggestions: Is there something you would like to see in the Task Force newsletter? Contact KTteam@canadiantaskforce.ca with the subject line “Newsletter Suggestion”.