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The Literature of Medicine |

More Informative Abstracts of Articles Describing Clinical Practice Guidelines

Robert S. A. Hayward, MD, MPH; Mark C. Wilson, MD, MPH; Sean R. Tunis, MD, MSc; Eric B. Bass, MD, MPH; Haya R. Rubin, MD, PhD; and R. Brian Haynes, MD, PhD
[+] Article and Author Information

From Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland; McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. Requests for Reprints: Robert Hayward, MD, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University Health Sciences Centre, 1200 Main Street West, Room 3H7, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5. Acknowledgments: The authors thank David Eddy, Marilyn Field, Betsy Humphreys, Edward Huth, Betty King, David Levine, Kathleen McCormick, and Harold Sox, Jr., for their help throughout the development of this proposal; Earl Steinberg for detailed feedback on previous versions of this manuscript; and the many persons involved with guideline development, evaluation, and implementation who suggested improvements to the proposal. Grant Support: In part by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research.


Copyright 2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1993;118(9):731-737. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-118-9-199305010-00012
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Recommendations are proposed for preparing more informative abstracts of articles describing clinical practice guidelines. Information about the development and content of guidelines should be summarized with the following structure.

Objective: a succinct statement of the objective of the guideline, including the targeted health problem, the targeted patients and providers, and the main reason for developing recommendations concerning this problem for this population.

Options: principal practice options that were considered in formulating the guideline.

Outcomes: significant health and economic outcomes identified as potential consequences of the practice options.

Evidence: methods used to gather, select, and synthesize evidence, and the date of the most recent evidence obtained.

Values: persons and methods used to assign values (relative importance) to potential outcomes of alternative practice options.

Benefits, Harms, and Costs: the type and magnitude of the main benefits, harms, and costs that are expected to result from guideline implementation.

Recommendations: a brief and specific list of key recommendations.

Validation: the results of any external review, comparison with guidelines developed by other groups, or clinical testing of guideline use.

Sponsors: key persons or groups that developed, funded, or endorsed the guideline.

Abstracts adhering to these recommendations could enhance readers' ability to appraise the applicability, importance, and validity of guidelines for specific providers, patients, and settings. More informative abstracts could also promote the use of more explicit methods of guideline development, more consistent reporting of guideline documents, and the more appropriate use of guidelines by clinicians.

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Figure 1.
The published and structured abstracts for American College of Physicians practice guidelines about screening for breast cancer.

The Original Summary is reprinted from reference 24.

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