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Survey of preferred guideline attributes: what helps to make guidelines more useful for emergency health practitioners?

Samar Aboulsoud123*, Sue Huckson4, Peter Wyer5 and Eddy Lang6

Author Affiliations

1 Weill Cornell Medical College, Doha, Qatar

2 Hamad Medical Corporation, P.O. Box 24250, Doha, Qatar

3 Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

4 Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS), 10 Ievers Terrace, Carlton, Victoria, 3053, Australia

5 Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, 630 West 168th Street, New York, NY, USA

6 Alberta Health Services, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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International Journal of Emergency Medicine 2012, 5:42  doi:10.1186/1865-1380-5-42

Published: 10 November 2012



Enhancing CPG acceptance and implementation can play a major role in the development and establishment of emergency medicine as a specialty in many parts of the world. A Guideline International Network special interest group established to support collaboration to improve uptake of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) across the emergency care sector conducted an international survey to identify attributes of guideline likely to enhance their use.


A Web-based survey was undertaken to determine how CPGs were accessed, the preferred formats and attributes of guidelines, and familiarity with GRADE. The criteria used to identify preferred attributes of guidelines were adapted from the AGREE II Tool.


Two hundred six responses were received from 31 countries, 74/206 (36%) from the US, 28/206 (16%) from Canada, 17/206 (8%) from Australia and 15/206 (7%) from the UK. The majority of responses were from physicians (176/206, 85%) with 15/206 (7%) of responses from nurses and 9/206 (4%) from pre-hospital emergency services personnel. The preferred format for guidelines was clinical protocols that incorporated recommendations into workflow, and the most preferred attribute of guidelines was the clear identification of key recommendations. The results also identified that within the group that responded to the question related to GRADE, 66% were unfamiliar with this system for summarizing evidence in relationship to recommendations.


The findings provide the basis for further research to explore the most appropriate formats for guidelines or guidelines resources tailored to the needs of the emergency care providers.