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About Tools for Practice

Free from Industry and Focused on Primary Care

  • Since 2009, Tools for Practice has been proudly sponsored by the ACFP and produced by PEER through a collaboration between a small group of physicians from the University of Alberta
  • TFP content is developed free of industry bias and is based on the best available evidence
  • Authors for each article must include at least one practising family physician (for a primary care focus)
    • Other authors have included medical/pharmacy students, specialists (general internal medicine, geriatrics, endocrinology, psychiatry, gastroenterology, neurology, and pulmonology), pharmacists, and nurse practitioners

Topic, Question, and Evidence Selection

  • Topics must have a broad or large application to clinical practice
    • These are selected by a variety of mechanisms including emerging evidence; recent issues in the news; new products with primary care impact; guideline recommendations deviating from the evidence, where standards of care have lagged behind evidence; questions from readers or CME meetings
  • All questions must be focused and clear
  • Authors perform a search of Medline-PubMed and, frequently, Google Scholar
    • They also review guidelines and track references and cited articles
    • Relevant studies are critically appraised and summarized into the evidence section

Article Formatting

  • Articles are targeted to be 300 words, excluding title and references, and have a maximum of 350 words
    • Three to five drafts are common before the article goes to peer review
  • Articles are divided into five sections:
    • Clinical Question
    • Bottom Line
      • A plain language summary to address the question and provide clinicians a focused answer to the clinical question
    • Evidence
      • Whenever possible, this section begins with the highest levels of evidence (systematic reviews, meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials)
    • Context
      • Includes limitations of the evidence, weaker evidence (cohort or case-control studies) related to the clinical question, guidelines, and important aspects of application
    • Citations are done in abbreviated style, including the first three authors

Peer Review, Translation, and Publication

  • Each article is assigned to one of the three editors who is not an author
  • It is then sent to two external peer reviewers who complete a brief electronic form and submit feedback to the assigned editor
  • The editor critiques the article, reviews the peer reviewers’ comments, and provides directive feedback to the authors on content
  • Once this feedback is addressed, it is formatted for style and copy edited
  • Articles are then translated into French before being posted on the ACFP website in both official languages and mailed to over 30,000 family physicians and allied health care providers across the country and abroad