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ECRI Opens Access to Clinical Decision-Making Guideline Portal

Through ECRI, providers can now access the retired AHRQ National Guideline Clearinghouse to inform clinical decision-making.

ECRI Institute opened access to its clinical decision-making guidelines.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- ECRI Institute recently opened free access to its ECRI Guidelines Trust portal, which offers expertly-vetted, evidence-based guidelines to assist providers with clinical decision-making.

The resource will grow overtime as more clinical guidelines become available.

ECRI launched the portal after healthcare stakeholders raised concern over the shuttering of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ’s) National Guideline Clearinghouse.

AHRQ shut down the online resource after federal funding cuts left the agency unable to support the site. ECRI took up the torch to support the resource in part because the institute had developed and maintained the guideline clearinghouse website for 20 years.

“Trustworthy clinical practice guidelines are essential to medical professionals who need to deliver safe and effective patient care,” said ECRI Institute President and CEO Marcus Schabacker. “Since ECRI Institute’s mission is to advance effective, evidence-based healthcare globally, we are taking the lead to provide free access to trusted guideline resources.”

The ECRI Guidelines Trust includes new summaries of evidence-based guidelines from participating guideline developers, medical specialty societies, and other healthcare organizations.

All Guideline Briefs featured in the portal include ECRI’s new TRUST Scorecard, which evaluates the transparency and rigor of each guideline to measure how the guideline compares to the Institute of Medicine standards for trustworthiness.

ECRI evaluations are unbiased and free from industry influence.

“The ECRI Guidelines Trust is not simply the National Guideline Clearinghouse under a new name,” said ECRI Institute-Penn Medicine Evidence-based Practice Center Director Karen M. Schoelles, MD. “When the NGC website was shut down on July 17, its records became inaccessible. So, the ECRI staff who had worked on NGC had to start over.”

“It’s an incredible amount of work,” continued Schoelles. “That’s why we are launching with an initial set of Guideline Briefs and TRUST Scorecards, and will be adding new content continuously as it becomes available.”

The next phase of the ECRI Guidelines Trust will launch in 2019. Coming additions to the portal include advanced search capabilities, an enhanced user interface, and support for guideline implementation and decision-making.

ECRI first announced its decision to revive AHRQ’s retired National Guideline Clearinghouse in July.

“Not all guidelines are created equal,” said ECRI Institute Medical Director Jane Jue, MD. “Clinicians want to know what stands behind a particular recommendation, and whether they can trust that recommendation. Trustworthy guidance is the real value that we will be providing.”

ECRI is a nonprofit organization centered on pairing applied scientific research to healthcare to identify which medical procedures, devices, drugs, and processes enable improved patient care.

Earlier this year, ECRI launched the Insight Culture of Safety Assessment for Health IT Companies program to promote safety in health IT use, health IT innovation, and health IT implementation.

The program is a joint effort between ECRI Institute and its multi-stakeholder collaborative, the Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety.

Health IT companies can securely access confidential surveys to facilitate the development and implementation of safety improvement plans. Safety improvement plans will be based on analyses of survey responses.

The tool enables health IT companies to evaluate organization-wide perceptions of safety issues, gage the effectiveness of existing safety training, identify gaps in safety, and contrast survey results with the results of similar organizations using de-identified comparative data.

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