Implementing clinical practice guidelines

NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination
Record ID 31998009131
Authors' objectives:

This bulletin examines the evidence on whether practice guidelines can change the behaviour of health professionals and, if so, how best to introduce them into clinical practice. The bulletin considers the characteristics of high quality guidelines and how purchasers might use guidelines in commissioning.

Authors' recomendations: Practice guidelines are systematically developed statements to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances. The introduction of guidelines can change clinical practice and affect patient outcome. The ways in which guidelines are developed, implemented and monitored influence the likelihood of adherence. Guidelines are more likely to be effective if they take into account local circumstances, are disseminated by an active educational intervention, and implemented by patient specific reminders relating directly to professional activity. Guidelines should be firmly based on reliable evidence of clinical and cost-effectiveness. Recommendations should be explicitly linked to the evidence. Few national or local guidelines are sufficiently based upon the evidence. National initiatives are needed to help provide the evidence base which can be incorporated into national and local guidelines. Priority should be given to the development and introduction of local guidelines where nationally produced rigorous guidelines exist or where the evidence base is readily available. Priority should be given to areas where current practice diverges from best practice providing the potential for significant gains in health. A coherent programme of research is needed to ensure that guidelines are used to their full potential.
Authors' methods: Systematic review
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 1994
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: England
MeSH Terms
  • Decision Making
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Professional Practice
Organisation Name: University of York
Contact Address: University of York, York, Y01 5DD, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 1904 321040, Fax: +44 1904 321041,
Contact Name:
Contact Email:
Copyright: Centre for Reviews and Dissemination
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.