gms | German Medical Science

G-I-N Conference 2012

Guidelines International Network

22.08 - 25.08.2012, Berlin

Assessing Australian Guidelines

Meeting Abstract

  • J. McCallum - National Health and Medical Research Council, Canberra, Australia
  • R. Forster - National Health and Medical Research Council, Melbourne, Australia
  • C. Marshall - Independent Guideline Consultant, Waipukurau, New Zealand
  • R. Cook - Independent Guideline Consultant, Melbourne, Australia
  • J. Davies - Programme Director, Bazian Ltd., London, England

Guidelines International Network. G-I-N Conference 2012. Berlin, 22.-25.08.2012. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2012. DocP028

doi: 10.3205/12gin140, urn:nbn:de:0183-12gin1406

Published: July 10, 2012

© 2012 McCallum et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: In 2010-11 an international collaboration of guideline development and implementation specialists reviewed 13 draft guidelines for the NHMRC, assessing them against the NHMRC standards for clinical practice guidelines (2007). Several lessons emerged and the findings will be presented and discussed.

Context: NHMRC has a statutory responsibility to approve guidelines in Australia. In 1999 NHMRC began to produce resources to support the development of guidelines by other relevant organisations and agencies. As at October 2011 there are 470+ guidelines on the NHMRC Clinical Guidelines Portal, covering 25 disease groups. Standards (2007) were developed to guide the development of guidelines seeking NHMRC approval. Findings from the initial assessments and feedback from external developers were used to inform a revision of the standards (released in 2011).

Description of best practice: The 2007 standard consisted of 15 domains; each with up to ten criteria covering all aspects of the AGREE tool plus additional measures of importance.

Lessons for guideline developers, adapters, implementers and users: None of the guidelines reviewed initially met all the NHMRC standards. Following production of the 2011 standards and workshops held for developers the following actions were considered:

  • Networking opportunities for methodologists and developers to share experience and lessons
  • Resources to support the 2011 standard
  • Audits of guideline quality.

Quality improvement is a central concept for guideline developers and it is timely to recognise guidelines themselves as quality improvement tools that can be assessed against a structure, process and outcome framework.