In June, Alberta Health Services (AHS) released its 100th guideline for best clinical practice in cancer care. The guideline was developed by the AHS Guideline Utilization Resource Unit, or GURU, and the Alberta Provincial Tumor Teams (APTT). It focuses on acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), a rare cancer of the white blood cells which is most commonly diagnosed in men and women around 30 years old, and is intended to provide standardized direction for treatment, management and follow-up.
“Prior to the establishment of GURU and the APTTs, there were large differences in the care provided across the province,” says Dr. Elizabeth Kurien, radiation oncologist at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre and medical director of the APTT. “Particularly after the associate cancer centres opened in Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Red Deer and Grande Prairie.”
The APTTS are 13 teams made up of medical oncologists, nurse practitioners, surgeons, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and researchers and are fully supported by the Alberta Cancer Foundation, enabling them to come together for focused discussions. The guidelines are designed to help healthcare professionals deliver a higher standard of care in Alberta. In the past year the guidelines were referenced more than 15,800 times off of the AHS website. An additional 67 of the new 100 guidelines, which are also located on the U.S. department of Health and Human Services National Guidelines Clearinghouse website, were accessed more than 280,000 times.
The former Alberta Cancer Board created GURU in 2006, in support of the APTT.