To develop a conceptual tool for the systematic development of cancer treatment practice guidelines.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The guidelines development tool, the Practice Guidelines Development Cycle, was derived from observing an evidence-based practice guidelines initiative at a comprehensive cancer center in Ontario, Canada, and from a literature review that uncovered barriers to guidelines development and implementation. Based on the literature findings and direct observations of how clinicians struggled with evidence-based guidelines development, we evolved a framework to incorporate clinical and administrative factors (eg, costs) into evidence-based guidelines. Use of the Practice Guidelines Development Cycle is illustrated with a clinical example (the use of adjuvant systemic therapy in good-risk, node-negative premenopausal breast cancer patients).
The result is the Practice Guidelines Development Cycle, which consists of eight sequential steps, from topic selection to policy formulation. Independent validation of guidelines is included. The cycle products are the evidence-based recommendation, the practice guideline, and the practice policy. The main features of the cycle are emphasis on scientific evidence, acknowledgment of the roles of clinical experience and nonclinical (administrative) factors through consensus, and explicit separation of clinical and cost considerations in guidelines development. Twenty guidelines are currently in development.
Attention to the barriers of guidelines development and the sociocultural nature of clinical practice, and respect for clinical experience, can lead to improved strategies for guidelines development.