Evidence-Based Guidelines--An Introduction
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Recommendations in the form of clinical practice guidelines are increasingly common. Clinical guidelines are systematically developed statements designed to help administrators, practitioners and patients make decisions about appropriate health care for specific circumstances. In North America, guidelines developed by professional societies, government panels and cooperative groups are frequently used to measure quality, to allocate resources and to determine how health care dollars are spent. For clinicians, guidelines provide a summary of the relevant medical literature and offer assistance in deciding which diagnostic tests to order, which treatments to use for specific conditions, when to discharge patients from the hospital, and many other aspects of clinical practice.
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