Approach to assessing and using clinical practice guidelines

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Clinical practice guidelines are produced in ever-increasing numbers by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and other developers, with over 1,000 guidelines currently in the National Guideline Clearinghouse. Knowing when to use guidelines in clinical practice requires neurologists to assess the rigor of published guidelines and understand how guideline recommendations are best applied in individual patient encounters. This review briefly describes guideline definitions and the AAN process for guideline development, outlines key elements for assessing guideline quality, and details a practical approach for incorporating guideline recommendations when partnering with patients in shared decision-making.

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