Federal Clinical Guidelines Website to Shut Down

2018-04-25 | CQ Roll Call

Federal officials will shut down a website that provides medical providers with free guidance on how to best treat patients. The National Guideline Clearinghouse website, Guideline.gov, will end when funding runs out this summer.


The guideline website first launched in 1998, as a program of the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. A five-year, $19 million contract with the nonprofit ECRI Institute to run the site ends in mid-July.


The site serves as a resource for clinicians, researchers, educators and others looking for evidence-based clinical guidelines, averaging about 200,000 visits a month.


Some organizations have expressed interest to AHRQ in carrying on the work, although it isn’t clear when or if the clearinghouse, or something similar, would be online again, according to a statement on the website.


“If the NGC’s work continues, we may be able to provide more information in the future, such as listing potential stakeholders and opportunities for the public to comment,” an agency spokeswoman said in a statement to CQ Wednesday.


The ECRI Institute, which focuses on applied science, has contracted with the federal government to run Guideline.gov since its inception. The nonprofit has reviewed and summarized more than 10,000 clinical practice guidelines in the past two decades, according to the organization.


ECRI is exploring ways to maintain a guideline repository but is seeking input from people who use the clearinghouse and other resources before considering further steps, said Karen Schoelles, director of the ECRI Institute-Penn Medicine Evidence-based Practice Center.


“We are in a unique position to utilize our 20 years of expertise in assessing and summarizing guidelines for the research and medical communities,” Schoelles said.


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