National Guideline Clearinghouse
What is the National Guideline Clearinghouse™?
The National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC) is a publicly available database of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and related documents. It provides Internet users with free online access to guidelines at http://www.guideline.gov.
Updated weekly with new content, the NGC is produced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ, formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research [AHCPR]), in partnership with the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) Foundation.
What Are the Major Features of the NGC?
Key components of the NGC include:
- Structured, standardized abstracts (summaries) about each guideline and its development.
- A utility for comparing attributes of two or more guidelines in a side-by-side comparison.
- Syntheses of guidelines covering similar topics, highlighting areas of similarity and difference.
- Links to full-text guidelines, where available, and/or ordering information for print copies.
- Annotated bibliographies on guideline development methodology, structure, implementation, and evaluation.
Other user-friendly features include:
- What's New, which enables users to see what guidelines have been added each week and includes an index of all guidelines in the NGC.
- NGC-L Discussion List, an electronic forum for exchanging information on clinical practice guideline development methodology, dissemination, implementation, and evaluation.
- NGC Update Service, a weekly electronic mailing of new guidelines and updates to existing guidelines being posted to the NGC Web site.
- Detailed Search, which enables users to limit their online searches to guidelines that target a particular population group or publication year, include patient resources, and/or incorporate certain developmental criteria, such as a clinical algorithm or implementation plan.
- NGC Browse, which permits users to scan guidelines available on the NGC site by disease/condition, treatment/intervention, or guideline issuing organization.
What Criteria Must Guidelines Meet?
For a clinical practice guideline to be considered for the NGC, it must meet these criteria:
- The guideline must contain systematically developed recommendations, strategies, or other information to assist health care decisionmaking in specific clinical circumstances.
- The guideline must have been produced under the auspices of a relevant professional organization (e.g., medical specialty society, government agency, health care organization, or health plan).
- The guideline development process must have included a verifiable, systematic literature search and review of existing evidence published in peer-reviewed journals.
- The guideline must be current and the most recent version (i.e., developed, reviewed, or revised within the last 5 years).
Who Uses the NGC?
The NGC provides varied audiences with an easy-to-use mechanism for obtaining objective, detailed information on clinical practice guidelines:
- Individual physicians and other clinicians can review and use the NGC in clinical decisionmaking and patient counseling.
- Health care organizations and integrated delivery systems can use information accessible through the NGC to adopt or adapt guidelines for their networks.
- Medical specialty and professional societies can use NGC resources in their own guideline development efforts.
- Employers and other large purchasers can use information from the NGC to assist them in making health care benefits purchasing decisions.
- Educational institutions can incorporate information accessible through the NGC into their curricula and continuing education activities.
- State and local governments can use the NGC in their quality assurance and program oversight efforts.
How Are Guidelines Submitted to the NGC?
Organizations interested in contributing guidelines should send:
- Two hard copies of the guideline along with an electronic version, if available.
- Information on how the guideline was developed, if not included in the guideline document.
- The name, street address, telephone and FAX numbers, and E-mail address of an appropriate contact person to:
NGC Project Director
5200 Butler Pike
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
Hardware and Software Requirements
The National Guideline Clearinghouse™ offers a Frames/Graphics site and a Non-Frames/Text Only site. The Non-Frames/Text Only site is used with screen readers and is recommended to any user with a browser that cannot handle tables, frames, and/or graphics.
The NGC makes extensive use of frames and tables in its Frames/Graphics site and is most easily used with current copies of Netscape Navigator/Communicator (version 3.0 or higher) or Microsoft® Internet Explorer (version 3.02 or higher). Netscape Navigator 2.02 (Windows®) and 2.0 (Macintosh), Lynx 2.8 (Text Only site), and AOL 4.0 (Windows®) have also been tested for compatibility with the NGC.
For More Information
More information on the National Guideline Clearinghouse™ can be obtained from the NGC Web site or by contacting:
NGC Project Officer
Center for Practice and Technology Assessment/AHRQ
540 Gaither Road, Suite 6000
Rockville, MD 20852
Phone: (301) 427-1600
Fax: (301) 427-1639
Users may also contact the NGC by E-mail for more information on the guideline submission process or other features of the NGC.
A CD-ROM tutorial on accessing and using the NGC is available without charge from:
The AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse
P.O. Box 8547
Silver Spring, MD 20907
Phone: 800-358-9295 (outside the United States, please call 410-381-3150)
Users should request the National Guideline Clearinghouse™ Tutorial (AHRQ Publication No. 00-DP004).