Guideline registries and libraries: a mixed-methods approach identified issues to be addressed with content

Published:December 04, 2021DOI:



      To establish what GIN guideline community members see as the desirable features of a guidelines library and registry of guidelines in development

      Study design and setting

      An explorative mixed-methods study was undertaken, including scoping activity and semi-structured interviews with guideline developers and endorsers from nine member organizations of the Guidelines International Network.


      A small number of desirable features of a guideline library were identified: comprehensiveness; single source of information to avoid searching multiple sites; inclusion of related materials; being up to date; searchability and ease of use. No existing library of guidelines was considered to have all of these features. A number of issues arose out of the desire to have a comprehensive library of guidelines, including inclusion of ‘high quality guidelines’ and limiting the scope to include only national guidelines. For registries of guidelines in development, the data set should be limited to avoid placing undue burden on those entering information.


      Our findings identify ongoing issues for the guideline community, including the tension between comprehensiveness and ease of use, which can result in limited uptake, reporting of guideline quality and the need for clarity on the purpose of any library or registry.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Djulbegovic B
        • Guyatt GH.
        Progress in evidence-based medicine: a quarter century on.
        Lancet. 2017; 390: 415-423
        • Woolf SH
        • Grol R
        • Hutchinson A
        • Eccles M
        • Grimshaw J.
        Clinical guidelines: potential benefits, limitations, and harms of clinical guidelines.
        BMJ. 1999; 318: 527-530
        • Klein WW.
        Current and future relevance of guidelines.
        Heart. 2002; 87: 497-500
        • Schünemann HJ
        • Woodhead M
        • Anzueto A
        • Buist S
        • Macnee W
        • Rabe KF
        • et al.
        A vision statement on guideline development for respiratory disease: the example of COPD.
        Lancet. 2009; 373: 774-779
        • Akl EA
        • Meerpohl JJ
        • Elliott J
        • Kahale LA
        • Schünemann HJ
        Living systematic reviews: 4. Living guideline recommendations.
        J Clinl Epidemiol. 2017; 91: 47-53
        • Vandvik PO
        • Brandt L.
        Future of evidence ecosystem series: evidence ecosystems and learning health systems: why bother?.
        J Clin Epidemiol. 2020; 123: 166-170
        • Qaseem A
        • Forland F
        • Macbeth F
        • Ollenschläger G
        • Phillips S
        • van der Wees P.
        Guidelines international network: toward international standards for clinical practice guidelines.
        Ann Intern Med. 2012; 156: 525-531
        • Munn Z
        • Qaseem A.
        Disappearance of the national guideline clearinghouse: a huge loss for evidence-based health care.
        Ann Intern Med. 2018; 169: 648-649
        • Sandelowski M.
        Whatever happened to qualitative description?.
        Research in Nursing and Health. 2000; 23: 334-340
        • Institute of Medicine
        Clinical Practice Guidelines We Can Trust.
        DC National Academies, Washington2011
        • Chen Y
        • Guyatt G
        • Munn Z
        • Florez ID
        • Marušić A
        • Norris SL
        • et al.
        Clinical practice guidelines registry: toward reducing duplication, improving collaboration, and increasing transparency.
        Ann Intern Med. 2021;