PURPOSE: The previously described practice guidelines development cycle follows an iterative model in which recommendations are reached by a process that incorporates practitioners at all phases. A key feature is the separation of the evidence-based systematic review and the generation of recommendations from policy decisions surrounding implementation. This article describes how this implementation phase has evolved in Ontario and how implementation has affected the guidelines process.
METHODS: The development of the New Drug Funding Program in Ontario and the appointment of a policy advisory committee (PAC) to make funding recommendations were reviewed. The decision-making framework of the PAC is described in this article.
RESULTS: The PAC has had to address a number of issues in making funding recommendations. These issues have included dealing with evidence arising solely from phase II versus phase III trials, using economic information, and involving community representatives in its deliberations. Its activities have had a substantial impact on the practice guidelines initiative.
CONCLUSION: It is possible to integrate an evidence-based, practitioner-driven approach to clinical guideline development with a funding program that takes policy considerations into account. However, even though these two roles are conceptually separate, the needs of the funding program have inevitably had an impact on the guidelines process.