Family Medicine pp 1127-1130 | Cite as

Clinical Guidelines

  • Alfred O. Berg


Clinical guidelines have been an integral part of medical practice since the first physician advised another on how to manage a patient. Formally a clinical guideline is a preformed recommendation made for the purpose of influencing a decision about a health intervention1; but informally virtually all textbook chapters, editorials, professorial pronouncements, advice from consultants, recommendations from organizations, clinical flow diagrams, utilization reviews, preauthorizations, and community standards (and many others) are forms of clinical guidelines. To add further complexity, terminology is far from standard. The terms clinical guidelines, clinical practice policies, practice parameters, standards, clinical pathways, and others appear in the literature synonymously despite attempts by some to refine and standardize them. Family physicians confronted with a guideline or policy must carefully determine exactly what is meant. In this chapter the term clinical guideline is used to comprise all synonyms.


Clinical Guideline Family Physician Clinical Pathway Health Care Policy Implicit Method 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 1.
    Eddy DM. Assessing health practices and designing practice policies: the explicit approach. Philadelphia: American Collage of Physicians, 1992.Google Scholar
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    Field MJ, Lohr KN, editors. Guidelines for clinical practice: from development to use. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1992.Google Scholar
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    Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. Interim manual for clinical practice guideline development. Washington, DC: USDHHS, PHS, 1991. AHCPR Publ. No. 91–0018.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Woolf SE. Practice guidelines: what the family physician should know. Am Fam Physician 1995;51:1455–63.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfred O. Berg

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