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Clinical Guidelines and Standardization of Practice to Improve Outcomes

ACOG Committee Opinion Summary, Number 792

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000003455
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ABSTRACT: Protocols and checklists have been shown to reduce patient harm through improved standardization and communication. Implementation of protocols and guidelines often is delayed because of lack of health care provider awareness or difficult clinical algorithms in medical institutions. However, the use of checklists and protocols clearly has been demonstrated to improve outcomes and their use is strongly encouraged. Checklists and protocols should be incorporated into systems as a way to help practitioners provide the best evidence-based care to their patients.

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Recommendations

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the College) makes the following recommendations regarding clinical guidelines and standardization of practice to improve outcomes:

  • Protocols and checklists should be recognized as guides to the management of a clinical situation or process of care that will apply to most patients. For any patient whose care cannot be managed by standardized protocols because of clinically valid reasons, the physician should document in the medical record why the protocol or checklist is not being followed.
  • Obstetrician–gynecologists should be engaged in the process of developing guidelines and presenting data to help foster stakeholder buy-in and create consensus, thus improving adherence to guidelines and protocols.

Number 792 (Replaces Committee Opinion Number 629, April 2015)

For a comprehensive overview of these recommendations, the full-text version of this Committee Opinion is available athttp://dx.doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000003454.

Scan this QR code with your smartphone to view the full-text version of this Committee Opinion.

Committee on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement

INTERIM UPDATE: This Committee Opinion has been updated to reflect content oversight by the Committee on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement.

Full-text document published online on September 24, 2019.

Copyright 2019 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, posted on the internet, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher.

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Official Citation

Clinical guidelines and standardization of practice to improve outcomes. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 792. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2019;134:e122–5.

© 2019 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.