Abstract for: A Systematic Review on Evolving Clinical Practice Guidelines for Population Screening

Guidelines for health policy and medical treatment including diagnostic testing for certain conditions should be based on the best available scientific evidence, and tests to screen for certain diseases are increasingly common in medical practice. However, over the last few decades, the selection and detection criteria for screening and disease definitions for several important disorders have changed significantly. Major health organizations have recommended changes in several common disease definitions, often resulting in the expansion of the criteria for screening, diagnosis and treatment. Guidelines for diagnosis and indications for treatment for hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, thyroid cancer, prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing, mammography, routine pelvic exam and neurodegenerative diseases to name just a few, vary substantially across the U.S, sparking confusion and controversy for the public In this study we aim to conduct a literature search to reveal changing patterns in clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for routine population screening. This study will provide empirical evidence on how criteria changed over time using cancer screening as an example. The results of this study can be used by other researchers and health policy makers to potentially help improve existing guidelines to alleviate the suboptimality in screening decisions and improve population health at the national level.