J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1995 Nov-Dec; 18(9): 606-10.
The future impact of clinical practice guidelines.
Research, Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport, IA 52803, USA.
Clinical guidelines are a very hot topic. Many guidelines are being published, but many concerns about guidelines still exist. Guidelines may be able to increase the quality of health care while eliminating unnecessary or inappropriate care. Critics wonder if the process will instead lead to poorer care and a waste of time and effort. Although guidelines are targeted on providers of care, those with other roles will use guidelines for optimizing patient care and outcomes, assuring quality, cutting costs and tracking liability and risk management. Examination of guidelines and their impact suggest that the process and product are imperfect and that the impact is difficult to measure. The chiropractic profession will continue in its guideline efforts. The direct effects of guidelines will be on certain aspects of doctor knowledge, attitude, belief and behavior. The indirect effects will be largely attitudinal in nature at first but will eventually lead to action. The profession will embrace the need to (a) develop a more comprehensive and useful research database and (b) to develop sophisticated means for obtaining profession-wide consensus on fundamental clinical issues.