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AHCPR's Web-based National Guideline Clearinghouse™ is now online

The new National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC) at http://www.guideline.gov is an Internet-based source of information on clinical care that will help health professionals to improve the quality of care they provide to their patients. The NGC, a repository for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, was developed by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research in partnership with the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP).

Thousands of clinical practice guidelines have been created by medical and professional societies, managed care organizations, hospitals, State and Federal agencies, and others. However, clinicians and other users often have had difficulty gaining access to a full range of guidelines and then identifying which guidelines are based on scientific evidence. They also have had no efficient way of making comparisons to select the guideline that best meets the needs of their patients.

The NGC responds to a longstanding need by identifying and featuring evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and presenting them with standardized abstracts and tables that allow for comparison of guidelines on similar topics. The tables provide information on the major areas of agreement and disagreement among guidelines to help users make informed selections. The NGC also will feature topic-related electronic mail discussion groups where guideline users can exchange information about guideline development, content, and implementation.

To date, more than 500 clinical practice guidelines have been submitted to the NGC by physician specialty groups, medical societies, managed care plans, State and Federal agencies, and others. The NGC criteria for selecting evidence-based guidelines were published in a Federal Register notice issued April 13, 1998. AHCPR has contracted with ECRI, a nonprofit health services research organization, to perform the technical work for the NGC.

The NGC will continue to receive guideline submissions on an ongoing basis. To submit a guideline, contact Vivian Coates, ECRI, NGC Project Director, 5200 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462-1298. For questions about guideline submissions, please contact Jean Slutsky, NGC Project Officer, at (301) 427-1600 or via E-mail at JSlutsky@ahrq.gov.

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