The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), Alexandria, Va, has released a manual detailing best practices for the creation of new clinical practice guidelines. The manual is published as a supplement to the June issue of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

Clinical practice guidelines are created to help direct decisions and criteria regarding diagnosis, management, and treatment in medical practice. They seek to identify, summarize, and evaluate the best evidence and most current data about prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, therapy (medication/procedures), risk versus benefit profile, and cost-effectiveness, according to AAO-HNS.

According to the authors, published guidelines are often poorly suited to assess performance or influence care, because recommendations do not translate into measurable actions or activities. The development process is generally inefficient and highly complex, requiring, on average, about 2 to 3 years per guideline, they write. Using the process outlined in the new manual, the AAO-HNS was able to publish five multidisciplinary guidelines in 5 years, all within 12 months from conception to completion.

The manual is intended to be a pragmatic resource, accurately reflecting current practices, in order to sustain consistency across guideline development practices, says the AAO-HNS.

The manual breaks down the development process and gives in-depth instructions for guideline task force administrators. The steps include planning, literature review, assigning the writing, peer review, organizational board review, and publication.

As clinical practice guidelines become more prominent as key metrics of quality health care, organizations must develop efficient production strategies that balance rigor and pragmatism, according to the AAO-HNS. Clin

The manual’s authors are Richard M. Rosenfeld, MD, MPH, from SUNY Downstate and the Long Island College Hospital and Richard N. Shiffman MD, MCIS, from the Yale Center for Medical Informatics and Yale University School of Medicine.

[Source: AAO-HNS]