Appropriate Use Criteria

Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) specify when it is appropriate to use a procedure. An "appropriate" procedure is one for which the expected health benefits exceed the expected health risks by a wide margin. Often, sound data is not available or does not provide evidence that is detailed enough to apply to the full range of patients seen in everyday clinical practice. Nevertheless, physicians must make daily decisions about when to use or not use a particular procedure. AUCs facilitate these decisions by combining the best available scientific evidence with the collective judgment of physicians in order to determine the appropriateness of performing a procedure.

Published AAOS Appropriate Use Criteria 

What procedures are addressed by Appropriate Use Criteria?
AUC topics focus on widely and frequently used procedures whose effectiveness is supported by evidence-based information. Additionally, AUC topics could be procedures that consume significant resources, have wide variations in their use (e.g. geographic), or are associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. AUC topics are derived from AAOS Clinical Practice Guidelines that establish the effectiveness of various procedures for a given disease, disorder, or condition. AUCs then address the patients in which these procedures are appropriate given the nuances of everyday clinical practice.

How are Appropriate Use Criteria developed?
The AAOS uses the RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method to develop AUCs. AAOS AUCs are developed using evidence-based information in conjunction with the clinical expertise of physicians from multiple medical specialties in order to improve patient care and obtain the best outcomes while considering the subtleties and distinctions necessary in making clinical decisions. View the AUC methodology for more details regarding the construction of AUCs. 

AAOS Consulting Resources Available for Specialty Societies

 The AAOS Department of Research and Scientific Affairs has created a chart detailing the tools and resources currently available to facilitate research and quality activities within the Specialty Societies.

AAOS Endorsement Process for External AUCs: Click Here to View


The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) seeks fellows to participate on the voting panel for the Management of Postoperative Surgical Site Infections appropriate use criteria. The voting panel will participate in two rounds of voting, during which they will rate the appropriateness of various treatments related to surgical site infection. Voting panel members will be required to complete the AAOS conflict of interest enhanced disclosure form online and attend a 1-day, in-person meeting in Rosemont, IL (TBD). If you are interested in participating on the voting panel for this AUC topic, please contact Mary DeMars at, by Monday, May 21, 2018.

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