Hexagon: Decision point requiring action; formulated as a question followed with Yes-No options. (Yes = vertical arrow; No = horizontal arrow)
Rectangle: Actions to be taken; process and treatment
Oval: (Algorithm) link to other sections within the Tool Kit
Octagon: End point
Arrows: flow of action; ordering the steps presented on the flow chart
Horizontal Arrows: next steps for NO response
Vertical Arrows: next steps for YES response
The goal of the guideline for Management of Tobacco Use is to incorporate the information from several existing reports, recommendations, and statements into a format that facilitates clinical decision-making and maximizes the use of clinical tools. The algorithm format was chosen because of the evidence that such a format improves data collection, diagnostic and therapeutic decision-making and changes patterns of resource use. The algorithm format may help the clinician sort out the logic and sequence of the decision-making process for choosing the appropriate interventions.
The algorithmic format allows the provider to follow a linear approach to critical information needed at the major decision points in the clinical process, and includes:
- An ordered sequence of steps of care
- Recommended observations
- Decisions to be considered
- Actions to be taken
A clinical algorithm diagrams a guideline into a step-by-step decision tree. Standardized symbols are used to display each step in the algorithm. 327 (Society for Medical Decision-Making Committee [SMDMC], 1992). Arrows connect the numbered boxes, indicating the order in which the steps should be followed.