Disappearance of the National Guideline Clearinghouse: A Huge Loss for Evidence-Based Health Care
Evidence-based guidelines play a pivotal role in optimizing quality of care and improving clinical outcomes for patients. In recognition of this important role, the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) was created in 1998. The NGC served as a “go-to” repository of practice guidelines meeting minimum quality criteria. In 2013, the criteria were revised and quality assessments were added to facilitate sorting and comparison of guidelines. All guidelines and related summary documents were freely accessible and updated routinely. In 2017, a tool was added that enabled users to quickly assess the processes used to develop different guidelines and to choose the guidelines they considered the most applicable, rigorously developed, and trustworthy. By June 2018, more than 2000 guideline summaries could be searched by clinical specialty, MeSH tag, or organization. In July 2018, all those features became unavailable and the simple-to-use Web site (Guideline.gov) went dark as a result of the federal government's budgetary cuts (1).