Audit data show that despite clinical practice guidelines, some patients miss out on evidence-based care, which is not explained by individual needs or preferences. Clinical care standards are small sets of concise recommendations that focus on known gaps in evidence-based care for a particular clinical condition. They aim to ensure that all patients with the same clinical condition are offered appropriate care, regardless of their location. Clinical care standards are nationally agreed standards and are developed to maximise engagement of consumers, clinicians, health services, and state and territory health departments and agencies. They complement clinical practice guidelines and other initiatives for improving quality of health care. As an example, the Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS) Clinical Care Standard is a significant step forward in supporting clinicians and health services to realise all of the gains promised by the ACS evidence base. The ACS Clinical Care Standard focuses on the areas of care that are known to be most associated with variation in outcome. It supports patient involvement in critical decisions that affect their care, refocuses clinicians on the priority areas of ensuring appropriate ACS care, and informs health services about the systems required to deliver evidence-based care.
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