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Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

Guideline User Policies for Electronic Versions

Clinical Practice Guidelines are made available in electronic form to enable you to access clinical information and recommendations on patient assessment and management for the clinical conditions selected with the speed and flexibility that computer-assisted information retrieval and management allow.

Program Origin / Intended Users / Scope and Limitations / Disclaimer
Guideline Topics and Release Dates / Copyright / Guideline Availability

Program Origin

These Clinical Practice Guidelines were developed with the support of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), an agency established in December 1989 under Public Law 101-239, as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A series of 19 Clinical Practice Guidelines was published over a 4-year period, 1992-1996.

AHCPR convened multidisciplinary panels of private-sector health care experts and consumers, and contracted with private, nonprofit organizations to develop Clinical Practice Guidelines. The panels employed an explicit, science-based methodology and expert clinical judgment to develop specific statements and recommendations. These were based on extensive literature reviews, reflecting the best scientific evidence available at the time of development. Peer review and field review were undertaken to evaluate the validity, reliability, and utility of the Guidelines in clinical practice.

Intended Users

AHCPR produced Clinical Practice Guidelines in formats suitable for health care practitioners, the scientific community, educators, and consumers. Several versions of each Clinical Practice Guideline were developed and produced by AHCPR to meet different needs.

Clinical Practice Guideline presented recommendations for health care providers with brief supporting information, tables and figures, and pertinent references.

Quick Reference Guide for Clinicians was a distilled version of the Clinical Practice Guideline, with summary points for ready reference on a day-to-day basis.

Consumer Version provided information for the general public to increase patient knowledge and involvement in health care decisionmaking.

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Scope and Limitations

Clinical Practice Guidelines were systematically developed statements and recommendations to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical conditions.

Although practitioners were encouraged to use the information provided in these Clinical Practice Guidelines, the recommendations might not be appropriate for use in all circumstances. Decisions to adopt any particular recommendation must be made in light of available resources and circumstances presented by individual patients.

Each Guideline reflected the state of knowledge, current at the time of its release, on effective and appropriate care. Given the inevitable changes in the state of scientific information and technology, most of these recommendations are now outdated due to more recent research findings or technological advances.

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Every effort was made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of these electronic versions of the Guideline products. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services makes no warranties regarding errors or omissions and assumes no responsibility or liability for loss or damage resulting from the use of information contained within.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cannot endorse, or appear to endorse, derivative or excerpted materials, and it cannot be held liable for the content or use of adapted products. Any adaptations of these Guideline products must include a disclaimer to this effect. Advertising or implied endorsement for any commercial products or services is not permitted.

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Guideline Topics and Release Dates

The Clinical Practice Guidelines and their release dates follow:

1. Acute Pain Management, Feb. 1992
2. Urinary Incontinence in Adults, Mar. 1992; Update, Mar. 1996
3. Prevention of Pressure Ulcers, May 1992
4. Cataract in Adults, Feb. 1993
5. Depression in Primary Care, Apr. 1993
6. Sickle Cell Disease in Infants, Apr. 1993
7. Early HIV Infection, Jan. 1994
8. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, Feb. 1994
9. Management of Cancer Pain, Mar. 1994
10. Unstable Angina, Mar. 1994
11. Heart Failure, June 1994
12. Otitis Media with Effusion in Children, July 1994
13. Quality Determinants of Mammography, Oct. 1994
14. Acute Low Back Problems in Adults, Dec. 1994
15. Treatment of Pressure Ulcers, Dec. 1994
16. Post-Stroke Rehabilitation, May 1995
17. Cardiac Rehabilitation, Oct. 1995
18. Smoking Cessation, April 1996
19. Early Alzheimer's Disease, November 1996

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Much of the contents of these Clinical Practice Guidelines are in the public domain within the United States only and may be used and reproduced without special permission. Citation as to source is required. Foreign countries and users who want to make electronic versions resident to their Web sites with global access need to request specific permission to reproduce any part or whole of any Guideline product because the public domain does not extend outside of the United States. Send your requests to

Some Guidelines contain copyrighted materials, which are noted, and further reproduction, in any form, print or electronic, is prohibited without the specific permission of copyright holders. Permission to reproduce copyrighted materials must be obtained directly from copyright holders and they may charge fees for the use of copyrighted materials. It is the responsibility of the user to contact and obtain the needed copyright permissions prior to reproducing materials in any form. Select Guideline Copyright Information for a list of copyrighted materials in the respective Guideline titles and the copyright holders who will need to be contacted to request permission for use.

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Guideline Availability

The full text of Guideline documents may be accessed online through a free, electronic service from the National Library of Medicine called HSTAT (Health Services/Technology Assessment Text).

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Internet Citation:

Guideline User Policies for Electronic Versions. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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