Clifton R. Gaus, ScD, administrator of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), announced in late April that the agency has decided not to develop clinical practice guidelines in fiscal 1997.
He told the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations subcommittee that, "the world of medical care in 1996 is far different from the one that existed in 1989 when AHCPR was created." Observing that AHCPR staff had consulted with public- and private-sector guideline users, he said, "their message is clear, they are seeking the scientific foundation from which they can develop their own high quality, evidence-based guidelines."
Instead of developing clinical practice guidelines, the agency will serve as a "scientific partner" with private- and public-sector organizations by producing the scientific foundation for them to use in their efforts to improve clinical practice. The organizations could include provider societies, health plans, purchasing groups, states, and others.
The agency said that "restructuring the guidelines program in this way will allow AHCPR to focus its available resources on its well-recognized strengths-the synthesis and meta-analyses underlying the 18 guidelines that AHCPR has released.