Guidelines and systematic reviews must adhere to tougher standards for transparency and objectivity and adopt consistent formats to make them trustworthy and accessible for both clinicians and patients, according to a pair of reports released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in March.
The reports were commissioned by Congress as part of the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 to set standards for clinical practice guidelines (http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2011/Clinical-Practice-Guidelines-We-Can-Trust.aspx) and systematic reviews (http://www.iom.edu/Activities/Quality/SystemReviewCER.aspx). Physicians and other health care decision makers often rely on guidelines and systematic reviews to provide authoritative information on care options and to synthesize data from the literature. However, such efforts vary greatly in how they are conducted and how their results are reported. Each of the 2 reports sets out “gold standard” practices for creation of these tools and aims to establish more consistency in the way different organizations present them.
Kuehn BM. IOM Sets Out “Gold Standard” Practices for Creating Guidelines, Systematic Reviews. JAMA. 2011;305(18):1846-1848. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.597