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The Task Force makes its recommendations on the basis of explicit criteria. Recommendations issued by the USPSTF are intended for use in the primary care setting. The USPSTF recommendation statements present health care providers with information about the evidence behind each recommendation, allowing clinicians to make informed decisions about implementation.*
The USPSTF is supported by an Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC). Under contract to AHRQ, the EPC conducts systematic reviews of the evidence on specific topics in clinical prevention which serve as the scientific basis for USPSTF recommendations.
The USPSTF reviews the evidence, estimates the magnitude of benefits and harms for each preventive service, reaches consensus about the net benefit for each preventive service, and issues a recommendation.
The Task Force grades the strength of the evidence as "A" (strongly recommends), "B" (recommends), "C" (no recommendation for or against), "D" (recommends against), or "I" (insufficient evidence to recommend for or against).
*From: Harris RP, Helfand M, Woolf SH, et al. Current methods of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: a review of the process. Am J Prev Med 2001;20(suppl 3):21-35.
Current as of December 2010
Methods and Processes: Recommendation Process. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. December 2010. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/process.htm