Clinical practice guidelines and guideline development.
Multiple health care agencies have called for the increased use of clinical practice guidelines to improve health care quality. Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines are those developed with the least bias. The process of developing guidelines through the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons is reviewed. The advantages and disadvantages of guidelines, as well as their limitations are presented. Guidelines can have a positive impact on patient care, improve physician education, and direct future clinical research.