Quality & Practice

Clinical Practice Guidelines

What is a Clinical Practice Guideline?

  • Clinical practice guidelines are systematically developed statements to assist practitioners and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific circumstances. —Institute of Medicine (1990)

What is the difference between a "clinical guideline," "practice parameter," and "standard"?

  • The phrases "protocol," "practice parameter," "pathway," "standard," "consensus statement," etc., are used in many different contexts and may not necessarily be a clinical practice guideline.

What is the Purpose of Clinical Practical Guidelines?

  • To describe appropriate care based on the best available scientific evidence and broad consensus;

  • To reduce inappropriate variation in practice;

  • To provide a more rational basis for referral;

  • To provide a focus for continuing education;

  • To promote efficient use of resources;

  • To act as focus for quality control, including audit;

  • To highlight shortcomings of existing literature and suggest appropriate future research.

If there are any questions or comments about the Practice Guidelines section, please contact the Academy at (847) 737-6000.​​

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