Guidelines translate best evidence into best practice. A well-crafted guideline promotes quality by reducing health-care variations, improving diagnostic accuracy, promoting effective therapy, and discouraging ineffective—or potentially harmful—interventions. Despite a plethora of published guidelines, methodology is often poorly defined and varies greatly within and among organizations.PURPOSE:
This manual describes the principles and practices used successfully by the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery to produce quality-driven, evidence-based guidelines using efficient and transparent methodology for action-ready recommendations with multidisciplinary applicability. The development process, which allows moving from conception to completion in 12 months, emphasizes a logical sequence of key action statements supported by amplifying text, evidence profiles, and recommendation grades that link action to evidence.CONCLUSIONS:
As clinical practice guidelines become more prominent as a key metric of quality health care, organizations must develop efficient production strategies that balance rigor and pragmatism. Equally important, clinicians must become savvy in understanding what guidelines are—and are not—and how they are best utilized to improve care. The information in this manual should help clinicians and organizations achieve these goals.