SOME 40 000 physicians who care for patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) will be receiving a clinical alert from the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, Md. This alert is to be followed with a journal article.
The eye institute is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the Washington, DC, suburb of Bethesda. The NIH's National Cancer Institute was the first to grapple with the question of clinical alerts in May 1988 and October 1989, when it announced an adjuvant therapy for breast cancer and an update on colon cancer management, respectively (JAMA. 1991;265:949).
More recently, the NIH's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development also released results of a study—of intravenous injection of a broad-spectrum immunoglobulin to reduce bacterial infections in children infected with the human immunodeficiency virus—prior to publication in a journal (JAMA. 1991;265:953).
Since then, NIH officials have been exploring possible guidelines for