Selection of Workers' Compensation Treatment Guidelines
Published In: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, v. 50, no. 11, Nov. 2008, p. 1282-1292
OBJECTIVE: Workers' compensation systems increasingly use mandatory treatment guidelines to guide clinicians and for utilization management. This article describes the steps for selecting such guidelines. METHODS: On the basis of experience with the RAND/University of California, Los Angeles project to help California select guidelines, we identified the necessary choices and processes for guideline selection and evaluation. RESULTS: Major steps in guideline selection include: 1) define purpose; 2) assign decision-making authority; 3) decide whether to use existing guidelines or develop new ones; 4) choose whether to use one or multiple existing guidelines; 5) specify clinical topics that guidelines should address; 6) identify and screen guidelines; 7) evaluate guidelines; 8) consider implications of results; 9) select guideline(s); 10) disseminate selection; and 11) assess long-term effectiveness. CONCLUSIONS: Given the many choices required, selecting mandatory workers' compensation guidelines should involve careful planning and a transparent, well-defined process.