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AHCPR, AAHP, and AMA to Develop National Clinical Guideline Clearinghouse™
Press Release Date: May 28, 1997
HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala today announced plans to develop a
comprehensive Internet-based source for clinical practice
guidelines. The new National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC) will
make available a full range of current guidance on treatments for
specific medical conditions.
Under the plan, HHS' Agency for Health Care Policy and Research,
the American Association of Health Plans and the American Medical
Association will work jointly to develop the new guideline
clearinghouse. It is anticipated that AHCPR will award a contract
later this year for the technical work to establish the NGC.
"Internet technology makes it possible to provide the rapid
access to the latest information on medical treatments,"
Secretary Shalala said. "This clearinghouse will help
professionals and patients alike to benefit from the growing
volume of clinical practice information."
The target date for launching the new Internet clearinghouse site
is Fall 1998.
"The NGC will make clinical practice guidelines available to
every physician, health plan, provider, purchaser and consumer
who can use a computer," said AHCPR Administrator John M.
Eisenberg, M.D. "It will provide access to the widest selection
of guidelines available from public and private organizations by
establishing an independent, interactive Web site, accessible by
using any standard Web browser or through the Web sites of our
The development and use of clinical practice guidelines have
grown markedly in the past five years. However, many existing and
potential guideline users have difficulty gaining access to and
keeping abreast of the many clinical practice guidelines
currently in use. In addition, existing guidelines often differ
in their development and content, further complicating their use.
To help address these issues, the NGC Web site will:
- Contain standardized information for thousands of guidelines such as title, sponsoring organization, author(s), and methodology used.
- Provide guideline abstracts, and where possible the full text of guidelines.
- Compare and contrast the recommendations of guidelines on similar topics, with summaries covering major areas of agreement and disagreement.
- Have topic-specific electronic mailing lists to enable registered users to communicate with one another on guideline development, dissemination, implementation, and use.
"Quality medical care is based on a combination of scientific
knowledge, training, and experience," said Yank Coble, M.D., AMA
Trustee and Chair of AMA's Practice Parameters Partnership.
"Scientifically based clinical practice guidelines are one
invaluable aid to diagnosis and treatment. The AMA's medical
guidelines evaluation process, coupled with the ease of access
that the NGC will provide, should greatly enhance the value of
clinical practice guidelines to physicians and their patients."
"The establishment of the NGC shows how our three organizations
can work together to respond to the growing interest in improving
quality of care, reducing uncertainty and unnecessary variation
in health care decisionmaking, and providing a solid scientific
basis for allocation of health care resources," said AAHP's
George Isham, M.D., Chair of AAHP's Committee on Quality Health
The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, a part of the
Department of Health and Human Services, is the lead agency
charged with supporting research designed to improve the quality
of health care, enhance access to essential services, and to make
this access to high quality health care more affordable.
For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs: Howard Holland, (301) 427-1857; Salina Prasad, (301) 427-1864.