Evidence-based guideline: how to write a quality guideline

What is an evidence-based guideline?

Evidence-based guidelines (or clinical practice guidelines) consist of statements that include recommendations to help physicians, patients, carers or policy makers make health care decisions in a specific health care setting with the aim of optimising patient care.

Evidence-based guidelines are informed by a systematic review of evidence and an assessment of the benefits and harms of alternative care options.

These guidelines are not set protocols that must be followed, but are intended to identify generally recommended interventions to be considered by the stakeholders using the guideline.

For more information, please see Clinical Practice Guidelines We Can Trust.

How do I write a trustworthy evidence-based guideline?

To be trustworthy, a guideline should meet the following requirements:

  • The evidence must be searched and evaluated systematically.

  • The team working on the guideline should be a multidisciplinary panel of experts and representatives.

  • Patient groups and patient preferences must be considered.

  • The process should be explicit and transparent.

  • The guideline should be reconsidered and revised when important new evidence warrants modifications.

Checklists

To start writing an evidence-based guideline, you can use the AGREE Reporting Checklist or the Guidelines International Network/McMaster Guideline Development Checklist to map out the steps of the guideline and follow up accordingly.

To evaluate the quality of a guideline, please see Evidence-based guideline: how can I evaluate the quality?

If you would like guidance and support when conducting and publishing a guideline in the domain of Life Sciences and Medicine, you can contact the Knowledge Centre for Health Ghent (KCGG). KCGG also organises workshops around evidence-based guidelines in Dutch. Please see Workshops – KCGG, where you can also access materials from previous sessions.

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Last modified July 6, 2021, 8:12 a.m.