While this latest edition represents the first full practice guideline published by APA in five years, these guidelines are seminal in that they represent the first APA guidance developed using a new process that addresses standards set forth in a 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report titled “Clinical Practice Guidelines We can Trust.”
In line with the IOM recommendations, this new edition of the practice guidelines was developed following an extensive review of the literature as well as input from around 800 experts in the field.
Rather than resembling a manual, these new guidelines are divided into nine separate guideline “modules” that span the breadth of psychiatric evaluation (Review of Psychiatric Symptoms, Trauma History, and Psychiatric Treatment History; Substance Use Assessment; Suicide Risk Assessment; Assessment of Risk for Aggressive Behaviors; Assessment of Cultural Factors; Assessment of Medical Health; Quantitative Assessment; Involvement of the Patient in Treatment Decisions; Documentation of the Psychiatric Evaluation).
This new format will enable psychiatrists to readily access what they need while allowing APA to make updates to individual guideline modules when needed as they become outdated, noted Laura Fochtmann, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at Stony Brook University School of Medicine and the medical editor for APA’s practice guidelines.
“This is a big step forward to improving the clinical care for patients and their families,” Joel Silverman, M.D., chair of psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University and chair of the APA Work Group on Psychiatric Evaluation, told Psychiatric News. “And it is not just limited to psychiatric evaluation, as we now have a better understanding of the review and development process that will drive future APA guidelines.”
For more information on how the updated guidelines were developed, see the Psychiatric News article “APA Publishes New Guidelines for the Psychiatric Evaluation of Adults.” To download a free copy of APA’s Practice Guidelines for the Psychiatric Evaluation of Adults, Third Edition, click here. APA members can also purchase a hard copy of the Practice Guidelines at a discount from American Psychiatric Association Publishing.