Current Validity of AHRQ Clinical Practice Guidelines

Published in: Technical Review: no. 6 (Prepared By the Southern California/RAND Evidence-based Practice Center Under Contract No. 290-97-0001). AHRQ Publication No. 02-0035. (Rockville, MD : Agency For Healthcare Research and Quality, Sep. 2002)

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2001

by Eduardo Ortiz, Martin P. Eccles, Jeremy M. Grimshaw, Steven H. Woolf, Paul G. Shekelle, Sally C. Morton

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Researchers first developed a conceptual model for evaluating when guidelines may need to be updated or withdrawn. Based on consultation with several experts, researchers propose that there are six situations, listed below, that may require a guideline to be updated (or withdrawn) relating to changes in evidence, changes in the values placed on evidence, changes in resources available for health care, and changes in performance. New preventive, diagnostic, or treatment interventions may have emerged to complement or supercede other interventions. New evidence may require updating of the estimates of benefits and harms for existing interventions. New evidence may identify as important outcomes that were previously unappreciated or wholly unrecognized. Evidence that current practice is optimal may change. The values that individuals or society place on different outcomes may change over time. The resources available for health care may change significantly.

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