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June 1993

Clinical Practice Guidelines: Good News, Bad News, or No News?

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1993;50(6):483-490. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1993.01820180085009

Clinical practice guidelines for primary care providers that address the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of depression may have an impact on psychiatric practice as well as on general medical education and the research agenda. This commentary highlights the conceptual and scientific issues that surrounded the development of these guidelines and speculates on their potential practical impact, particularly on psychiatry.

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) within the US Department of Health and Human Services was established in December 1989. This agency, which is at the same level as the US Food and Drug Administration, has as one of its many missions the development of clinical practice guidelines. Practice guideline efforts have also been launched by a variety of medical groups, including the American Psychiatric Association.

The conditions addressed by the first seven AHCPR guidelines include sickle cell disease, benign prostatic hypertrophy, pain, pressure

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