For the past two decades, numerous medical organizations have used appropriate use criteria (AUC) to provide clinicians and patients with a measurement of overuse and underuse of medical and surgical procedures. Among the organizations that have developed AUC are the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Radiology, the North American Spine Society, the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, and the American Academy of Dermatology. The AAOS began developing AUC in 2011.
AUC are an important addition to a physician’s clinical resources. Adherence to evidence-based medicine (ie, clinical practice guidelines, or CPGs) affords clinicians a powerful tool to aid them, along with their expertise and experience, when making day-to-day clinical decisions. Unfortunately, randomized clinical trials—the “gold standard” for evidence-based medicine—are often not available or cannot apply to the wide range of patients seen in everyday practice. If gaps in the literature exist, AUC can be thought of as the mortar that fills these gaps, using the expertise and experience of clinicians who are specialists in the topic of interest.