Do guidelines make a difference?

NHMRC is seeking information from guideline developers about the impact of guidelines.

Do guidelines make a difference?

Guidelines represent a significant investment of public funds and volunteer labour. A growing awareness in government, and in organisations that make significant financial investments in the development of evidence-based health advice, has highlighted the importance of demonstrating the impact of their investment.

NHMRC defines the impact of research as ‘the verifiable outcomes that research makes to knowledge, health, the economy and/or society and not the prospective or anticipated effects of the research.’ While we draw on this definition to inform the discussion about guideline impact, we are aware there may be more subtleties to defining the impact of guidelines.

NHMRC is interested in discovering more about how guideline developers view impact, how they might use impact data in their process and to identify efforts made by Australian guideline developers to evaluate guideline impact. This information is of importance to NHMRC's Health Translation Advisory Committee (HTAC) which advises NHMRC on opportunities to improve health outcomes in areas relevant to clinical care, public, population and environmental health.  

We invite guideline developers to provide comment through a number of Consultation questions to help us build a more informed picture of guideline impact in Australia and to work towards establishing a more suitable definition of guideline impact.

Consultation questions

1. What does guideline impact mean to you?

2. When starting a new guideline project, do you consider potential impacts of your guideline when:
    a. outlining the purpose of your guideline?
    b. outlining the potential benefits of your guideline?

3. Do you discuss guideline impact during the development of your guideline?

4. Have you ever tried to measure the impact of your guideline?

    If you have:
    a. how did you try to measure impact?
    b. When did you try to measure impact?
    c. What elements worked well and what was challenging?
    d. What did you use (or intend to use) the impact data for?

    If you haven't:
    a. would you consider measuring the impact of your guidelines? If not, what are the main reasons? 

5. What do you think is important to consider before initiating work to measure guideline impact?

6. Who would be most interested in the impact of your guideline?

How your feedback will be used

All feedback collected is de-identified and will be reported in confidence to HTAC for further advice. The information and themes collected through this exercise will also inform the scope and structure of a Guidelines for Guidelines Handbook module on Guideline Impact. This module will be released for public consultation in 2021 with an invitation to provide further comment on the content before it is finalised.

Contact us

We welcome comments from anyone involved in the development of guidelines. Please send feedback and comments to the Clinical Guidelines team

ISBN: 978-1-86496-024-2