Research Article: Reporting Items for Updated Clinical Guidelines: Checklist for the Reporting of Updated Guidelines (CheckUp)

Date Published: January 10, 2017

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Robin W. M. Vernooij, Pablo Alonso-Coello, Melissa Brouwers, Laura Martínez García

Abstract: BackgroundScientific knowledge is in constant development. Consequently, regular review to assure the trustworthiness of clinical guidelines is required. However, there is still a lack of preferred reporting items of the updating process in updated clinical guidelines. The present article describes the development process of the Checklist for the Reporting of Updated Guidelines (CheckUp).Methods and FindingsWe developed an initial list of items based on an overview of research evidence on clinical guideline updating, the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE) II Instrument, and the advice of the CheckUp panel (n = 33 professionals). A multistep process was used to refine this list, including an assessment of ten existing updated clinical guidelines, interviews with key informants (response rate: 54.2%; 13/24), a three-round Delphi consensus survey with the CheckUp panel (33 participants), and an external review with clinical guideline methodologists (response rate: 90%; 53/59) and users (response rate: 55.6%; 10/18). CheckUp includes 16 items that address (1) the presentation of an updated guideline, (2) editorial independence, and (3) the methodology of the updating process. In this article, we present the methodology to develop CheckUp and include as a supplementary file an explanation and elaboration document.ConclusionsCheckUp can be used to evaluate the completeness of reporting in updated guidelines and as a tool to inform guideline developers about reporting requirements. Editors may request its completion from guideline authors when submitting updated guidelines for publication. Adherence to CheckUp will likely enhance the comprehensiveness and transparency of clinical guideline updating for the benefit of patients and the public, health care professionals, and other relevant stakeholders.

Partial Text: Trustworthy clinical guidelines aim to assist decision making by providing recommendations that are informed by the best available evidence and include an assessment of the benefits and harms of alternative care options [1,2]. Because of the continuous emergence of new research evidence (i.e., changes in available interventions, effects, or cost) [3], appropriate updating to maintain the trustworthiness of clinical guidelines is challenging since it requires regular surveillance and reviewing of the new evidence [4,5].

For reporting the development process of CheckUp, we followed Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research(EQUATOR) and Moher’s criteria [21,22]. The development of CheckUp consisted of four phases: (1) panel selection, (2) generation of the initial checklist, (3) optimisation of the checklist, and (4) approval of the final checklist (Fig 1).

We developed CheckUp through a comprehensive development process, including the use of systematic reviews, assessment of updated clinical guidelines, and engagement of the international guideline community through semistructured interviews, a Delphi consensus survey, and an external review.



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