Practical Tips for Using and Developing Guidelines: An Allied Health Primer

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iCAHE's textbook: Practical Tips for Using and Developing Guidelines: An Allies Health Primer is available to order now.

The iCAHE textbook discusses theoretical aspects of guidelines including appraisal and development and then explores the practical implications of finding and interpreting guidelines across a range of clinical scenarios, such as 'What do we do when all the guidelines we find are of poor quality?' or 'can't be readily applied to our clinical situation?' or 'there are so many guidelines that we don't know how to choose?'.  These examples provide a practical step by step process that can be employed by any clinician facing similar scenarios across any field of allied health.

Specifically, this book aims to assist allied health clinicians to:

  • Find and critically appraise guidelines
  • Adapt currently available guidelines to their own area of practice
  • Understand the process of guideline development, and
  • Identify elements of allied health guideline construction that could be improved

Example pages

Open the iCAHE Textbook Summary: Practical tips in finding the evidence: An Allied Health Primer (PDF - 331kb) 

Page examples from Practical Tips for Using and Developing Guidelines: An Allied Health Primer.

The iCAHE textbook discusses theoretical aspects of guidelines including appraisal and development and then explores the practical implications of finding and interpreting guidelines across a range of clinical scenarios, such as 'What do we do when all the guidelines we find are of poor quality?' or 'can't be readily applied to in our clinical situation?' or 'there are so many guidelines that we don't know how to choose?'. These examples provide practical step by step process that can be employed by any clinician facing similar scenarios across any field of allied health. There are some example chapter pages provided below: 

Chapter 1: What's in a name? Current case of nomenclature confusion
Chapter 3: Guidelines: what they comprise and how to find them
Chapter 8: Planning: the key to successful guideline development
Chapter 11: Sports medicine guidelines: the art and science of sports medicine

What are guidelines?

Evidence based practice (EBP) has become increasingly important in health care since it was first recognised in the early 1990s. Over the past decade, clinical guidelines have increasingly become a familiar part of clinical practice.

Clinical practice guidelines can be defined as systematically developed statements to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances.

Clinical practice guidelines have potential benefits for both the patient and practitioner:

  • Improved quality and consistence of care
  • Empowers the patient with knowledge and options
  • They offer explicit recommendations for clicians based on the body research evidence
  • Guidelines offer clinicians medico legal protection

While many clinicians are familiar with the concept of guidelines, many questions still remain such as:

  • Are clinical guidelines, protocols and pathways the same?
  • How can we find and appraise guidelines?
  • How do we construct/ develop a guideline?
  • How do we implement them into the clinical scope of practice?

All clinical guidelines may not follow rigorous development processes and as such may be underpinned by methodological flaws. Therefore, just like critically reviewing research publications, clinical guidelines also need to be appraised before taking their recommendations into consideration.

A common misconception about clinical guidelines is that they are a "recipe" for health care decisions. They are merely a tool to operationalise EBP in health care and they require clinical expertise and recognition of patient values, morals and beliefs in order to successfully implement them in clinical practice.

This book is aimed at clinicians who have access to the Internet but who may not have access to subscription-only library databases. With the wide array of diseases and medical conditions out there and new methods of managing those coming into existence everyday, as clinicians we need to be armed with information that will help us dole out the most appropriate care.

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Areas of study and research

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