The Institute of Medicine (IOM) updated the definition and standards for clinical practice guidelines in their report, Clinical Practice Guidelines We Can Trust, published in 2011. Based on their report, clinical practice guidelines are defined as "statements that include recommendations intended to optimize patient care that are informed by a systematic review of evidence and an assessment of the benefits and harms of alternative care options" (Institute of Medicine, 2011)
Institute of Medicine. (2011). Clinical practice guidelines we can trust. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209539/
Sometimes the best way to learn is by seeing examples. Below are several examples of clinical practice guidelines. Note that some clinical practice guidelines use different terminology (i.e., the USPSTF uses the phrase "recommendation statements" instead of clinical practice guidelines) but they all adhere to the definition and structure laid out by the IOM. Remember, to spot clinical practice guidelines, look for systematic reviews of the evidence, consideration of harms and benefits of treatments, disclosure of bias or conflicts of interest, and grading of the evidence.
There are many ways to locate clinical practice guidelines. In this video, one of the librarians will show you tips and tricks on how to track down clinical practice guidelines. Watch on YouTube.com and check out the additional links in the description for more resources.
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Not sure if what you've found is considered a guideline? We have a couple of tips for you.
One way to determine if what you’re looking at is actually a guideline is to check the reference section of the guideline for “systematic review” references. A quick way to do this is to search the document (ctrl+f or cmd +f) for “systematic review”. You’ll want to see this show up multiple times in the reference section.
Another way is to check it against a standard evaluation tool like AGREE II.