Clinicians once again have free access to medical practice guidelines four months after the federal government closed a website that housed the information.
ECRI Institute launches site to replace shuttered National Guideline Clearinghouse
Like the Clearinghouse, the new Trust is public and carries the same information contained on the former site.
But the Trust is more than just the Clearinghouse under a different name, said Dr. Karen Schoelles, director of the ECRI Guidelines Trust.
The Trust will include new summaries of guidelines and a new scorecard that will provide unbiased evaluations on the rigor and transparency of guidelines compared to the National Academy of Medicine standards for trustworthiness.
Schoelles said when Clearinghouse shut down, the records contained on the site became inaccessible, which meant ECRI had to start from scratch by contacting nearly 140 different organizations to obtain permission to summarize their guidelines. The Trust will also provide links to another 170 guidelines within journals that did not allow ECRI to do summary evaluations.
"What we want to get to is being more than just a provider of the guideline information to actually helping people figure out how to put things into practice," Schoelles said.
While a number of sites already exist that offer access to clinical guidelines, much of the information on those sites were copied from the Clearinghouse before it was shut down, and they have not updated their content since the Clearinghouse stopped posting new guidelines March 2.
Schoelles said the Trust's content will be updated regularly. She anticipated the site will have as many as 300 guidelines by year-end that will have summaries and scorecards.
"We're hoping as more guideline developers see the site and trust the site that more of them will give us permission," Schoelles said.
By next year, the Trust will add more features such as advanced searches capabilities, an enhanced user interface, and support for guideline implementation and decisionmaking. More features could be added over the next year as ECRI consults with various healthcare stakeholders to find out more about what kind of information they find most useful.
Accessing the site is free for now, but Schoelle said that over time ECRI could begin charging fees for special features.
Schoelles said ECRI revived the website because healthcare professionals had been campaigning to save the Clearinghouse, which tracked about 200,000 visits a month.
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