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National Clinical Effectiveness Committee. (2015) Standards for clinical practice guidance. Dublin: NCEC.

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The purpose of this document is to provide standards for healthcare staff developing evidence-based clinical practice guidance for health care.

What is Clinical Practice Guidance?
Clinical practice guidance is defined as systematically developed statements or processes to assist clinician and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances, with the type of clinical practice guidance determined by evidence-based criteria and clinical requirements. Such clinical guidance includes clinical policies, procedures, protocols and guidelines. Care pathways, clinical decision aids/tools, care bundles, flowcharts, checklists and algorithms can form components of policies, procedures, protocols or guidelines.

Does Clinical Practice Guidance improve patient care?
Clinical effectiveness is a key component of patient safety and quality. The integration of best evidence in service provision, through clinical effectiveness processes such as clinical practice guidance, promotes healthcare that is up to date, effective and consistent.

The vision of the Standards for Clinical Practice Guidance is quality improvement for patient safety. The added value of standards for clinical practice guidance for policy, health system, public and patients can include:
• Improving and optimising patient outcomes
• Evidence-based practice
• Standardisation of approach to avoid duplication
• Facilitation of audit: provides parameters for audit
• Reduction of variation in clinical practice
• Consistency of nomenclature
• Improvement of methodological rigour.

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