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Clinical Practice Guidelines

What are clinical practice guidelines?

Clinical practice guidelines are recommendations for diagnosing and treating a specific medical condition to optimize patient care. They assist practitioners when making decisions about a patient’s care and help them find an appropriate method of diagnosis or treatment based on validated approaches.

These guidelines are based on a systemic review of evidence and an assessment of the potential benefits and harms associated with care options.

When translating evidence into clinical practice guidelines, the balance of benefits and harms, quality of evidence, available resources, patients’ values, acceptability by stakeholders, intervention feasibility, and effect on health equity must be considered.

Why are clinical practice guidelines important to healthcare?

Evidence has shown that adhering to clinical practice guidelines helps to improve patient outcomes, and it can also help improve the process of receiving care.

This is because clinical practice guidelines help clinicians make the best decision (based on scientific evidence) for their patients in a timely manner. For this reason, clinical practice guidelines are a central part of patient-centered care.