Clinical Guidelines and Standardization of Practice to Improve Outcomes
ACOG Committee Opinion Summary, Number 792
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.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the College) makes the following recommendations regarding clinical guidelines and standardization of practice to improve outcomes:
© 2019 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
- 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.