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Pneumologie. 2003 Aug;57(8):459-67.

[The German guideline clearing-project on bronchial asthma-part 1: Methodology and results of formal appraisal].

[Article in German]

Author information

Arztliches Zentrum für Qualität in der Medizin, Cologne.



In order to promote quality of asthma management in Germany, a national asthma guidelines clearing project was initiated in 2000 by the German Guidelines Clearinghouse (Sponsors: German Medical Association (GMA), National Association of the Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (NASHIP), German Hospital Federation, Federal Association of the Statutory Sickness Funds. Part 1 of this article shows the methodology and the results of the appraisal, part 2 (to be published) shows the key topics which should be dealt with in a german guideline on bronchial asthma.


To identify and compare evidence-based, high-quality German- and English language asthma guidelines as benchmarks for ongoing guideline development and implementation programmes. To disseminate information about asthma guidelines developed in accordance with current methodological know-how. To identify and consent key topics for a national evidence-based guideline for Germany.


Search procedure, formal appraisal: Systematic search using literature databases (XMED, incl. Medline and Embase) and English-/German-language guideline databases (via www., published between January 1990 and March 2000. Abstract screening of the search results according to the inclusion criteria (n = 54 of a total of 502 hits). Methodological guideline evaluation of 16 guidelines using the German checklist for methodological guideline appraisal. Appraisal of guidelines' contents: Peer review of guidelines with the following inclusion criteria: Bronchial Asthma-general, German and English language, based in references published later than 1994, new guideline or actual update. Peer review was performed by a multidisciplinary focus group of EBM experts (clinical and ambulatory settings). No expert was involved in guideline production during the review period.


Methodological appraisal: 16 out of guidelines were in accordance with the formal minimal standard with a wide range within the following domains: "description of the development process", "declaration of authors' independence", "explicit link between recommendations and the supporting evidence", "management options", "tools for implementation". The focus group recommended for future national asthma guidelines to rely on the following procedures: (1) to formulate the recommendations using standardized, clearly described consensus methods basing on evidence retrieved and selected in a systematic way (2) to prove links between recommendations and supporting evidence (3) to develop guideline versions for health care professionals as well as for consumer/patients (4) to develop guideline-based education tools (5) to ensure periodical updates of the asthma guideline (6) to consider the methodological recommendations and to give reasons for deviations from the methodological recommendations. APPRAISAL OF GUIDELINES CONTENT: None of the guidelines identified comprised information about all of the following key topics considered to be relevant for a German national guideline by the focus group: (1) intended guideline users/goals, (2) definition (3) cause of disease, (4) form of disease, (5) severity, (6) diagnosis, (7) therapeutic goals, (8) prevention, (9) pharmacotherapy, (10) non-pharmacotherapy, (11) therapy control and compliance, (12) emergency treatment, (13) rehabilitation, (14) comorbidity, (15) special aspects, (16) coordination of care, (17) quality assurance/quality management, (18) implementation.


For quality promotion of bronchial asthma management in Germany, the development of a national evidence-based guideline, using the internationally accepted quality criteria for clinical practice guidelines, was recommended by an expert group of the German Guideline Clearinghouse. The experts identified and peer-reviewed 16 out of 54 guidelines, which might be useful as benchmarks and examples for a German asthma guideline. From the peer review results, the expert group identified 18 key topics for a national asthma guideline.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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