Development of clinical guidelines involves several steps that can each be executed with differing degrees of rigor. We believe that the following 11 key components are important minimal criteria for high-quality guidelines. The Table presents an overview of the criteria. The Guidelines International Network recommends that guideline developers strive to meet these criteria and recognize that adaptation to local circumstances may be necessary and appropriate. Guideline development organizations should specify how they put each of these key components into effect in documents that detail their methods for guideline development.
Composition of guideline development group
A guideline should describe the process used to reach consensus among the panel members and, if applicable, approval by the sponsoring organization. This process should be established before the start of guideline development.
Conflicts of interest
A guideline should include disclosure of the financial and nonfinancial conflicts of interest for members of the guideline development group. The guideline should also describe how any identified conflicts were recorded and resolved.
A guideline should specify its objective(s) and scope.
A guideline should clearly describe the methods used for the guideline development in detail.
Guideline developers should use systematic evidence review methods to identify and evaluate evidence related to the guideline topic.
A guideline recommendation should be clearly stated and based on scientific evidence of benefits; harms; and, if possible, costs.
Rating of evidence and recommendations
Peer review and stakeholder consultations
Guideline expiration and updating
Financial support and sponsoring organization