“Clinical practice guidelines are systematically developed statements to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances.” (Institute of Medicine, 1990)
Issued by third-party organizations, and not NCCIH, these guidelines define the role of specific diagnostic and treatment modalities in the diagnosis and management of patients. The statements contain recommendations that are based on evidence from a rigorous systematic review and synthesis of the published medical literature.
These guidelines are not fixed protocols that must be followed, but are intended for health care professionals and providers to consider. While they identify and describe generally recommended courses of intervention, they are not presented as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other knowledgeable health care professional or provider.