National Guideline Clearinghouse is Dead

AHRQ’s National Guideline Clearinghouse will be gone after July 16, 2018.  Federal funding through AHRQ will no longer be able to support the NGC as of that date.  According to their April 23rd announcement, they are receiving “expressions of interest from stake holders” in carrying on the work, but there is no clear timeline or idea if/when something like NGC will be online again.  Their website provides a contact name and email for questions regarding this, however my guess is they don’t have many answers or else they would post another announcement.

The “NGC supports AHRQ’s mission to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable by providing objective, detailed information on clinical practice guidelines, and to further their dissemination, implementation, and use in order to inform health care decisions.”  With its impending demise, it has many wondering where clinical practice guidelines can be found and who will be vetting them in the future (there are/were criteria for inclusion in the Clearinghouse).

I guess one could do a PubMed search for guidelines on a specific topic, but that isn’t the same has having a clearinghouse containing information and summaries on vetted guidelines.  You can also find practice guidelines on the websites of sponsoring organizations, however not all guidelines are as high quality as we would like.

According to the article, Are guidelines following guidelines? the methodological quality of clinical practice guidelines in the peer-reviewed medical literature, (JAMA, 1999 May 26; 281(20):1900-5) “guidelines published in the peer-reviewed medical literature during the past decade do not adhere well to established methodological standards. While all areas of guideline development need improvement, greatest improvement is needed in the identification, evaluation, and synthesis of the scientific evidence.”  The NGC includes standardized information on the methodology(ies) used in the development of guidelines on their site.  The NGC’s approach and efforts in this area were recognized in the JAMA article as “laudable.”

I think there is a definite need for the NGC, and I am worried about its demise and its impact on health care.  So until we know more about whether there is a new home/parent for the NGC, I thought it would be helpful and interesting to know what others will be doing to find quality guidelines after July 16th. Leave a comment to discuss.


3 thoughts on “National Guideline Clearinghouse is Dead”

  1. Although the National Guideline Clearing House tidily collected guidelines into one place, the guidelines themselves have been questionable according to these 2 studies from 2012 and 2016:
    “Original Investigation: HealthCare Reform: Failure of Clinical Practice Guidelines to Meet Institute of Medicine Standards, Two More Decades of Little, If Any Progress” Kung, J et al. Arch Intern Med. v 172(21) Nov 26, 2012. p1628-1633.
    and its companion “Invited Commentary: In Guidelines We Cannot Trust”. Shaneyfelt, T. p. 1633
    “Financial Relationships between Organizations that Produce Clinical Practice Guidelines and the Biomedical Industry: A Cross-Sectional Study”. Campsall, P. et al. PLOS Medicine. May 31, 2016.

  2. Thank you for the information. That is very helpful and good to know. Do you know how Trip will do things in he future if NGC is gone and there are no more NGC links to the publisher sites?

  3. We, at the Trip Database, linked to NGC guidelines as part of our collection but when we heard about the funding we had to do something to try to maintain coverage of US guidelines. As such we have started linking to guidelines on the publisher sites that NGC linked to. In total we link to over 3,000 US guidelines, which is more than double the guidelines that the NGC cover (for a variety of reasons).

    For illustrative purposes here are a few searches, restricted to US guidelines:

    gestational diabetes (
    headache (
    depression (

    I hope this is some positive news.

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