A Guide to Guidelines for Professional Societies and Other Developers of Recommendations Conferences uri icon

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  • Organizations around the world are recognizing that guidelines should be based on the best available evidence, that the development of recommendations needs to be transparent, and that appropriate processes should be followed. In June 2007, we convened an American Thoracic Society (ATS)/European Respiratory Society (ERS)-sponsored workshop with over 60 representatives from 36 international organizations to provide advice to guideline developers about the required steps and processes for guideline development using the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as an example. Following the workshop, participants completed a series of 14 review articles that underwent peer review and incorporated key new literature until June 2011 for most articles in this series. The review articles evaluate the guideline cycle including: priority setting, question formulation, managing conflict of interest, defining appropriate outcomes, stakeholder involvement, grading the quality of evidence and strength of recommendations, integration of values and preferences, considering resource use, reporting of guidelines, implementation, and adaptation. In this Introduction we frame the background and methods of these reviews and provide the key conclusions of the workshop. A summary of the workshop's conclusions and recommendations was published in The Lancet. Given the enormous resources that are spent on research and the importance of providing the best guidance to healthcare decision makers, attributing appropriate funds to research syntheses and transparent, independent guidance for the development of evidence-based guidelines is justified. Furthermore, given the immense amount of work that is required, individuals and organizations need to collaborate to achieve the best possible and cost-effective coordination of these efforts.


  • Schunemann, Holger
  • Woodhead, Mark
  • Anzueto, Antonio
  • Buist, A Sonia
  • MacNee, William
  • Rabe, Klaus F
  • Heffner, John

publication date

  • December 15, 2012