HHS Launches New Quality Resource on Web for Health Professionals To: National Desk, Technology Writer
Contact: Karen Migdail, 301-594-6120, for AHCPR;
Brenda Craine, 202-789-7447, for AMA; and
Susan Pisano, 202-778-3245, for AAHP
WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 /U.S. Newswire/ -- HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala today launched the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC), an Internet-based source of information on clinical care that will assist 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 (AHCPR) in partnership with the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP).
``The National Guideline Clearinghouse is an important example of the Administration's commitment to improving the quality of health care in this country,'' said Secretary Shalala. ``This new online service gives clinicians free and easy access to the latest health care information from many sources as they make treatment decisions with their patients.''
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 evidence. They also have had no efficient way of making comparisons to select the guideline that best meets their needs.
The NGC responds to a longstanding need by identifying and featuring evidence-based clinical practice guidelines presented 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, which will help users make informed selections. The NGC also will feature topic-related electronic mail discussion groups where guideline users can exchange information about different aspects of guideline development, content, and implementation.
``National medical specialty societies continuously produce and update valuable and scientifically valid clinical practice guidelines. These guidelines contain evidence-based scientific knowledge that is a vital component of quality medical care,'' said Yank D. Coble, M.D., executive committee member of the AMA Board of Trustees. ``The AMA's participation in the NGC partnership establishes an additional means to efficiently disseminate these state-of-the-art guidelines so that practicing physicians and other health care professionals have easy access to the scientific knowledge that these guidelines provide.''
``The National Guideline Clearinghouse is a major milestone in the pursuit of better medicine in America, and an excellent exampe of what can be achieved when stakeholders from the public and private sectors work together toward common goals,'' said American Association of Health Plans President and CEO Karen Ignagni. ``Health plans and physicians will use the NGC to improve quality of care for patients. The NGC will be an important tool in clinical decision making as we continue to address the problems of underuse, overuse, misuse, uncertainty and uneveness in health care quality.''
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 organizations, and others. The NGC criteria for selecting evidence-based guidelines was 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.
``It is well known that variation in health care results partly from uncertainty and a lack of evidence for clinical treatment,'' said John M. Eisenberg, M.D., AHCPR administrator. ``The NGC will help reduce variation and improve health care quality by giving clinicians and other health professionals a source of information on evidence-based treatment to help guide their decisions.''
The NGC will continue to receive guideline submissions on an ongoing basis. Organizations wishing to submit a guideline, should 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, 301-594-4042 or via e-mail at: jslutsky(At)
To find out more about AHCPR, its research findings and publications, visit the AHCPR home page at
Note: HHS press releases are available on the World Wide Web at:
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