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The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide) Go to site home page About the Task Force

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Guide to Clinical Preventive Services

The Guide to Clinical Preventive Services contains the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) External Web Site Icon recommendations on the use of screening, counseling, and other preventive services that are typically delivered in primary care settings. The USPSTF, an independent panel of experts supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), makes recommendations based on systematic reviews of the evidence related to the benefits and potential harms of clinical preventive services.

The primary care interventions reviewed by the USPSTF and included in the Clinical Guide can provide support to community interventions as health care providers are typically the gatekeepers to health services for their patients. Similarly, the community-based and health system-based interventions reviewed by the Community Guide can provide support to primary care interventions by:

  • Reinforcing health care providers' recommendations to their patients
  • Identifying effective community-based and health care system-based programs to which providers can refer their patients for additional education and support (e.g., quit lines that supplement physician smoking cessation counseling)
  • Identifying effective health system supports for health care providers (e.g., provider reminder systems)

Health care providers can also help, both in their local communities and nationwide, to support community-based efforts that assist them in meeting the public health needs of their patients and others.

The work of the USPSTF and the Community Preventive Services Task Force complement each other. Taken together, the recommendations of the two Task Forces provide our nation with knowledge of how health is improved by prevention in both clinical and community settings.

Complementary Work of Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)

This X-Y axis shows overlapping responsibilities of the USPSTF (clinical perspective) and the CPSTF (public health perspective) as a venn diagram. On the Y axis, which represents the Type of Preventive Services, with increasing space between categories as it progresses; from the point of origin moving up: Screening Tests, Preventive Medications, Behavior Change Counseling, Information/Education, Organizational Policies, Legislative Policies. On the X axis, which represents Settings, spaced equally across the figure; from the point of origin moving right: Primary Care Offices, Health System/Community-Based Organizations; Built Environment/Worksites/Schools, Communities/States/Nation. Work of the USPSTF is represented by a medium blue bubble shape whose middle covers the point of origin and extends up to Organizational Policies on the Y axis and right to Built Environment/Worksites/Schools on the X axis. Work of the CPSTF is represented by a light blue bubble shape that covers the upper right corner of the grid and extends down to the very bottom, or Screening Tests, and left to Primary Care Offices, just shy of the Y axis. Where the two bubble shapes overlap, there is a dark blue area that represents the overlapping areas of their work.

The Community Preventive Services Task Force and the USPSTF concurrently release their annual reports to Congress to demonstrate the close collaboration of the two Task Forces, and to provide a full picture of our nation's prevention research needs.