The CMA's Infobase of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) is not only the largest online source of its type in Canada but it also ranks consistently as one of the most popular sections on the CMA website.
"It is one of the most heavily visited areas on on cma.ca," says Nan Bai, an information specialist with the CMA's CPG Infobase. Surveys have shown that about 70% of the visitors are physicians or medical trainees, and the site is also popular with medical librarians who are completing clinical searches on behalf of physicians.
Today, the Infobase maintains a relatively constant repository of about 1200 CPGs. Roughly 200 to 300 new guidelines are added annually, while a similar number is removed. All guidelines that are more than 5 years old and have not been reviewed are removed automatically, says Bai.
"This is a very useful resource because its reach is so broad," says CMA President Louis Hugo Francescutti. For instance, the database offers multiple sources of information on different clinical problems - a search for CPGs related to "heart disease" will return 23 guidelines, while "depression" returns 26.
Francescutti said usage trends for the Infobase, which list the CPGs that are most popular with visitors, are also useful because they "point to the most common clinical issues physicians are dealing with."
In September 2013, for example, the most frequently viewed CPG was the Canadian Diabetes Association's Guidelines for the prevention and management of diabetes in Canada.
Ranking second were the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Canadian Best practice recommendations for stroke care (acute inpatient stroke care).
Rounding out the top 10 CPGs in terms of usage were:
Francescutti said the current "rebuild" of cma.ca, which will be completed next year, will lead to further enhancements for the already popular CPG site.
Besides its 1,200 CPGs, Infobase also includes a list of new/revised guidelines, inclusion criteria for new guidelines and access to an information specialist.
Today, cma.ca attracts more than 1.3 million visits annually, and the CPG Infobase attracts about 150,000.