Where Did the Guidelines Go?


From The Lown Institute: “For twenty years, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality maintained a digital archive of medical guidelines as a resource for clinicians, called the National Guidelines Clearinghouse (NGC). On July 16th, to the chagrin and frustration of doctors and patient advocates, the site shut down as a result of budget cuts at AHRQ.

This might not seem like a big deal – can’t doctors just google the guidelines they need? But convenient access to guidelines is just a small part of what made the NGC valuable. As Dr. Valerie King, professor at the Center for Evidence-based Policy at Oregon Health & Science University pointed out in The Daily Beast, much of what we called guidelines weren’t actually supported by evidence, they were just expert’s opinions, or ‘BOGSAT guidelines: “bunch of guys sitting around a table” guidelines.’ The NGS sorted through the tangle of low-quality and ‘BOGSAT’ guidelines to find and publish only those with a high quality of evidence.”

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