Setting priorities and selecting topics for clinical practice guidelines.
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Setting priorities and selecting topics are important steps in guidelines development, but they have received relatively little attention to date. Responses from a survey of guidelines stakeholders in Canada suggest that the health burden of a clinical condition on the population is an important factor in priority setting. Economic considerations, cast as either costs of treatment to the health care system or the economic burden of illness to society, are given varying importance by different stakeholder groups. Drawing on the literature and the survey results, the authors propose a framework for priority setting. Important issues requiring consideration include the role of public and community participation, the need for and appropriate emphasis on quantitative data regarding current practice and its variation, and mechanisms to link guidelines to health-policy development and management of the health care system.
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