Date: 24 Aug 2012

‘New’ Evidence for Clinical Practice Guidelines

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Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) are systematically developed statements to assist both patient and practitioner decisions. They link the practice of medicine more closely to the body of underlying evidence, shift the burden of evidence review from the individual practitioner to experts, and aim to improve the quality of care. CPGs do not routinely search for or include evidence related to patients’ values and preferences. We argue that they should. We think that such evidence can tell us whether a decision is preference sensitive; how patients feel about important health outcomes, treatment goals, and decisions; and whether preferences vary in different types of patients. The likely effects of reviewing the literature are a general sensitization to the importance of preferences in decision making, the recognition that some decisions are simply all about preferences, a more considered approach to forming preferences among patients and other stakeholders, and more effective integration of preferences into decisions.