Clinical guidelines - a better prognosis?

Clinical guidelines - a better prognosis?

Almost 300 people interested in improving the guidelines that advise health practitioners and others interested in how to best care for patients, are meeting in Edinburgh on Monday (June 2).

Delegates are travelling from across Europe and beyond to attend the three-day DECIDE International Conference.

Patients, guideline producers, healthcare professionals, academics and representatives of medical charities and other bodies are meeting to hear interim research findings that could improve how clinical guidelines are presented to those who use them to plan and deliver patient care.

Professor Shaun Treweek, from the University of Aberdeen’s Health Services Research Unit, is one of the co-ordinators of the research being presented at DECIDE.

He said: “We are four years into a five year project and the DECIDE conference is all about presenting our results so far and getting feedback from the right people as to whether our work is going in the right direction.  We want to show our work but we also want to listen.

“It can be a real challenge for GPs, hospital clinicians, and all those involved in caring for patients, to keep up with recommendations issued from all the different guideline producers.

“One of the areas we are researching is whether clinical guidelines could be presented in a more layered way with just the key information presented first to make it easier to find and use information, perhaps during a GP consultation when time is of the essence.  We’re also developing tools to help the people who develop guidelines to make their decisions, writing guidance for those who want to produce material for the public and developing software to handle all the research information needed to create a guideline.

“In short, the aim of DECIDE is to develop and evaluate new ways of presenting research information in guidelines and to tailor these to the information needs of patients, clinicians and policymakers - in other words to the key players who determine what happens in clinical practice."

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE); the World Health Organization (WHO); Health Improvement Scotland; Swedish National Institute of Public Health; the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services; BMJ Publishing; PLoS Medicine; NHS 24; the Health Authority of Modena, Italy; National and Gulf Center for Evidence Based Health Practice, Saudi Arabia; Breakthrough Breast Cancer, South African Medical Research Council; National School of Public Health/Oswaldo Cruz Foundation/Ministry of Health, Brazil; the Scottish Government; Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme, the Royal College of Midwives, patients and the European Commission are among those who will be represented at the DECIDE conference.

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