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Chin Med J (Engl). 2012 Oct;125(20):3660-4.

Quality assessment of clinical guidelines in China: 1993 - 2010.

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Evidence-Based Medicine Center, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China.



Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) play an important role in healthcare in China as well as in the world. However, the current status and trends of Chinese CPGs are unknown. The aim of this study was to systematically review the present situation and the quality of Chinese CPGs published in the peer-reviewed medical literature.


To identify Chinese CPGs, a systematic search of relevant literature databases (CBM, WANFANG, VIP, and CNKI) was performed for the period January 1978 to December 2010. We used the AGREE II instrument to assess the quality of the included guidelines.


We evaluated 269 guidelines published in 115 medical journals from 1993 to 2010 and produced by 256 different developers. Only four guidelines (1%) described the systematic methods for searching and selecting the evidence, 14 (5%) guidelines indicated an explicit link between the supporting evidence and the recommendations, only one guideline used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system. Thirty-one guidelines (12%) mentioned updates and the average frequency of update was 5.5 years; none described a procedure for updating the guideline. From the assessment with the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Ecaluation II (AGREE II), the mean scores were low for the domains "scope and purpose" (19%) and "clarity of presentation" (26%) and very low for the other domains ("rigour of development" 7%, "stakeholder involvement" 8%, "applicability" 6% and "editorial independence" 2%).


Compared with other studies on the quality of guidelines assessed with the AGREE instrument in other countries, Chinese CPGs received lower scores, which indicates a relatively poor quality of the guidelines. However, there was some increase over time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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