n South African Medical Journal - AGREE to disagree : critical appraisal and the publication of practice guidelines : editorial




Faced by an explosion in available evidence for multiple new treatments, busy clinicians value guidelines that are clear, reliable, unbiased and locally applicable. Finding them can be difficult, however. The science of guideline development has moved rapidly in the past decade, resulting in a more robust and systematic process. However, just as the language of evidence-based medicine can be subverted to sound convincing while hiding errors and biases, so too guidelines may look convincing but lack many of the elements needed to ensure quality of care. In particular, the pharmaceutical and health technology industries are intensely aware of the marketing potential offered by widely disseminated and ostensibly neutral documents that ultimately influence medical practice.


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