Objective A survey was organized to determine the general level of knowledge and attitudes of medical personnel towards clinical practice guidelines (CPG).
Methods A questionnaire modified from two validated instruments was used. Multi-stratified sampling was applied, and 1782 questionnaires were completed.
Results A total of 80.4% of physicians had regular employment contract, 8.6% managerial post and 9.3% temporary work contract. Average age and working time were 43.7 and 15 years respectively; 64.3% were male. It was reported that 47.9% participated in academic activities, 70.8% belonged to a medical association, 40.3% identified CPG as steps towards arriving at a diagnosis and/or treatment and 14.9% thought that CPG were norms. A total of 10.7% of the physicians believed that guidelines are based on scientific evidence, 10% perceived them as supporting tools, 10.8% had no knowledge of them, 65% said that they used them, 76.7% thought that personal experience was as important as CPG recommendations and 57.4% thought that CPG were necessary for good medical practice. Physicians preferred that CPG be produced by personnel from outside the Mexican Institute of Social Security, or who had followed validity criteria.
Conclusions The majority of physicians considered CPG to be useful tools. It was evident that few knew where to acquire CPG, and this would lead to their limited use. Findings from this study enabled procuring a broader idea of the level of knowledge and attitudes of Mexican Institute of Social Security physicians towards CPG. This information is relevant when planning strategies for the purpose of sharing and implementing CPG.