gms | German Medical Science

G-I-N Conference 2012

Guidelines International Network

22.08 - 25.08.2012, Berlin

The guideline as query-able data structure

Meeting Abstract

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  • J. Fraser - New Zealand Guidelines Group, Wellington, New Zealand
  • A. Buckley - New Zealand Guidelines Group, Wellington, New Zealand
  • S. Berry - New Zealand Guidelines Group, Wellington, New Zealand
  • L. Brunt - New Zealand Guidelines Group, Wellington, New Zealand

Guidelines International Network. G-I-N Conference 2012. Berlin, 22.-25.08.2012. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2012. DocP150

doi: 10.3205/12gin262, urn:nbn:de:0183-12gin2622

Veröffentlicht: 10. Juli 2012

© 2012 Fraser et al.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open Access-Artikel und steht unter den Creative Commons Lizenzbedingungen ( Er darf vervielfältigt, verbreitet und öffentlich zugänglich gemacht werden, vorausgesetzt dass Autor und Quelle genannt werden.



One barrier to the uptake of evidence-based guidelines by practitioners is the data complexity and volume typical of multiple, and often even single guidelines. The nature of guidelines as long, narrative documents militates against speedy retrieval of information which is immediately relevant to a specific clinical decision. This is especially challenging where a practitioner seeks evidence-based decision support at the point of care.

In concept, the guideline (and multiple guidelines) as a query-able database has intuitive appeal. However semantic complexity and inevitable variation in guideline structure and presentation are challenges to practicality of the concept; current packaging of guidelines is still largely in the nature of browseable documents, and searches of guideline libraries, and even of single guidelines, still yield a large volume of content which users must navigate to yield specific, relevant information.

The beta version of a guideline data structure will be presented. Based on a limited number of data items and a search algorithm specific to the structure, it is designed to enable very rapid, ‘search, scan and drilldown’ across single or multiple guidelines.

Remaining challenges include integration into clinical workflow via integration of the structure into Patient Management Systems, and semantic and workflow issues which complicate a fully standardized structure as between guideline topics and user audiences. Nonetheless, the beta structure provides proof of concept that searchable ‘bites’ of guidance are feasible, and that with few variants on the basic structure, later releases can be a more useful text-based decision aid than many current guideline formats.