To clearly distinguish between clinical guidelines and protocols, it is important to point out that as much as clinical guidelines are detailed and extensive documents, the lack detailed recommendations about how to carry out a procedure, drug duration, or dose. Such information is usually specified in a clinical protocol, and it is usually built from the information contained in the clinical guideline. The information in the clinical protocol is usually used to direct the surgical team on specific elements of recommended procedures (Suarez 2005, p. 1).
In surgery, clinical guidelines are important because they lead to improved results because they are mostly developed by experts involved in the management of a certain health condition that requires the surgery. Clinical guidelines are important in surgery because they provide best practice information. They act as operational tools that assist in making decisions. On the other hand, clinical protocols are important in surgery because they give specific details about operational procedures that offer direction and guidance to the surgical teams (Field & Lohr 1990, p. 20). Difference between Clinical Guidelines and Protocols and Their Importance within Surgery.
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Field, MJ & Lohr, KN, eds, 1990, Clinical practice guidelines: directions for a new program, National Academy Press for the Institute of Medicine, Washington, DC.
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals – NHS, (n.d.), Protocols & guidelines: health evidence support service, viewed 10 December 2014, http://www.midyorks.nhs.uk/Library/Toolkit.htm
National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 1998, A guide to the development, implementation and evaluation of clinical practice guidelines, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.
Primary Care Electronic Library (PCEL), 2007, Clinical protocols: community health sciences, University of London, St. Georges.
Suarez, SH 2005, ‘Protocols vs. guidelines’, Midwifery Today, no. 73, viewed 10 December 2014, http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/protocolsversus.asp
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