Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, MHA; Frode Forland, MD, DPH; Fergus Macbeth, MD; Günter Ollenschläger, MD, PharmD, PhD; Sue Phillips, PhD; Philip van der Wees, PhD, PT; for the Board of Trustees of the Guidelines International Network
Qaseem A, Forland F, Macbeth F, Ollenschläger G, Phillips S, van der Wees P, et al. Guidelines International Network: Toward International Standards for Clinical Practice Guidelines. Ann Intern Med. 2012;156:525-531. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-156-7-201204030-00009
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2012;156(7):525-531.
Reader Survey: Are standards needed for clinical guideline development? http://www.annals.org/content/156/7/525/suppl/DC1 Tell us what you think.
Guideline development processes vary substantially, and many guidelines do not meet basic quality criteria. Standards for guideline development can help organizations ensure that recommendations are evidence-based and can help users identify high-quality guidelines. Such organizations as the U.S. Institute of Medicine and the United Kingdom's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence have developed recommendations to define trustworthy guidelines within their locales. Many groups charged with guideline development find the lengthy list of standards developed by such organizations to be aspirational but infeasible to follow in entirety.
Founded in 2002, the Guidelines International Network (G-I-N) is a network of guideline developers that includes 93 organizations and 89 individual members representing 46 countries. The G-I-N board of trustees recognized the importance of guideline development processes that are both rigorous and feasible even for modestly funded groups to implement and initiated an effort toward consensus about minimum standards for high-quality guidelines. In contrast to other existing standards for guideline development at national or local levels, the key components proposed by G-I-N will represent the consensus of an international, multidisciplinary group of active guideline developers.
This article presents G-I-N's proposed set of key components for guideline development. These key components address panel composition, decision-making process, conflicts of interest, guideline objective, development methods, evidence review, basis of recommendations, ratings of evidence and recommendations, guideline review, updating processes, and funding. It is hoped that this article promotes discussion and eventual agreement on a set of international standards for guideline development.
Table. Key Components of High-Quality and Trustworthy Guidelines
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