Frequently Asked Questions

About the Portal (8)

The Register contains information about clinical practice guidelines that are being developed in Australia. It has been designed to help Australian guideline developers promote their work and get in touch with other guideline developers.

It is a requirement that the source and type of funding used for guideline development is disclosed, this information will be displayed on the Register. 

The contact information supplied on the Register is intended to help put guideline developers in touch with each other. It must not be used for commercial purposes. This information will be freely accessible to anyone using the Register.

Clinical practice guidelines which are NHMRC approved will be added to the Portal once they are publically released by the guideline developer. If you have developed an evidence based guideline which has not been approved by the NHMRC it can still be assessed for inclusion on the Portal. Please send an electronic copy of the guideline to clinicalguidelines@nhmrc.gov.au together with a short statement as to why you feel it meets the Portal selection criteria.

Links to new guidelines are added to the Portal as the guidelines are assessed for inclusion. In keeping with international best practice, links to guidelines which have not been updated for five years will be removed from the portal. For access to these guidelines you are encouraged to approach the developer directly.

These guidelines contain recommendations but have not been systematically developed and documentation of the evidence base is lacking. These guidelines are not NHMRC approved. The inclusion criteria have been reviewed and as a result guidelines which are not evidence based will not be selected for inclusion on the Portal from 2015 onwards. Non-evidence based guidelines included on the Portal prior to 2015 will remain on the Portal for 5 years.

The NHMRC Act allows for approval of guidelines developed by organisations external to NHMRC. Guideline developers must meet the procedures and requirements as set out in the Procedures and requirements for meeting the 2011 NHMRC standard for clinical practice guidelines. More information on the procedures and requirements for NHMRC approval of a clinical practice guideline can be found on the NHMRC website.

An NHMRC approved clinical practice guideline has been approved by the NHMRC Chief Executive Officer under Section 14A of the National Health and Medical Research Act 1992 (the NHMRC Act). By granting approval NHMRC is satisfied that these guidelines are based on the systematic identification and synthesis of the best available scientific evidence, and make clear recommendations for health professionals practising in an Australian health care setting. The NHMRC Act requires that all NHMRC approved guidelines must undergo public consultation. 

An evidence based clincial practice guideline has been systematically developed based on the best available scientific evidence and the evidence base for the recommendations has been documented. While all NHMRC approved guidelines are based on the best available scientific evidence this category is used on the Portal to differentiate evidence based guidelines from those which are not considered evidenced based, and not approved by the NHMRC.

The Portal contains links to Australian clincial practice guidelines that have been assessed against the selection criteria and are less than five years old. The Portal selection criteria can be found here. The inclusion criteria have been reviewed and as a result guidelines which are not evidence based will not be selected for inclusion on the Portal from 2015 onwards. The Guideline Team runs routine searches to identify freely available clinical practice guidelines which are assessed for inclusion on the Portal. We also ask members of the community to submit guidelines they use in their work to be assessed for inclusion on the Portal.

About the Register (6)

Inclusion of a guideline in development on the Register does not mean automatic inclusion of the completed guideline on the Portal. If the guideline has received NHMRC approval it will be included on the Portal once it is publically released by the developer. If the completed guideline is not a NHMRC approved guideline it will need to go through a separate assessment process against the Portal selection criteria. If you think your completed guideline meets the criteria for the Portal, we encourage you to submit it for assessment for inclusion on the Portal. An electronic copy of the completed guideline can be sent to clinicalguidelines@nhmrc.gov.au along with a statement as to why you feel it meets the Portal selection criteria.

The Register is updated as new guidelines in development are submitted for inclusion on the Register or a guideline developer requests changes to a registered guideline record. Completed guidelines which obtain NHMRC approval and are added to the Portal will be removed from the Register when they are added to the Portal. Developers of guidelines which do not request NHMRC approval are requested to tell us when a registered guideline has been completed ad should be removed from the Register.

The details of guidelines in development may need to be updated several times while they are on the Register as they move through the development process. Guideline developers can  submit a request to update the details of their guideline at any time through the Register page. Alternatively details of the required update can be emailed to the Guidelines Team at clinicalguidelines@nhmrc.gov.au.

A guideline in development can be submitted for inclusion on the Register if it is produced under the auspices of an Australian medical specialty association, non-government organisation, health service, hospital, relevant professional society, public or private health organisation, government agency at the federal, state level or local level.

Please note that a clinical practice guideline under development by an individual, a pharmaceutical company, medical device manufacturer, medical equipment manufacturer, pharmaceutical company sponsored advocacy group or any organisation whose aim in developing a guideline is to sell or promote goods or services to the Australian public is ineligible for inclusion on the Guidelines in Development Register.

The electronic guideline submission form together with instructions for use is on the Register page.

Who can include guidelines on the Register?

A guideline in development can be submitted for inclusion on the Register if it is produced under the auspices of an Australian medical specialty association, non-government organisation, health service, hospital, relevant professional society, public or private health organisation, government agency at the federal, state level or local level.

Please note that a clinical practice guideline under development by an individual, a pharmaceutical company, medical device manufacturer, medical equipment manufacturer, pharmaceutical company sponsored advocacy group or any organisation whose aim in developing a guideline is to sell or promote goods or services to the Australian public is ineligible for inclusion on the Guidelines in Development Register.

If you are planning or are already developing an Australian clinical practice guideline and want others to know about your work we encourage you to use the Register. You will find a database of planned guidelines, and guidelines that are currently in development or under revision. You can search for details about guideline topics, developers and funders, as well as information about the clinical scope of the guideline. You will also find information to put you in contact with the developer.

If you plan to seek NHMRC approval for your guideline it is a requirement of the NHMRC procedures and requirements to meet the 2011 NHMRC standard for clinical practice guidelines to include your guideline on the Register. This provides the NHMRC with notification of your intent to submit your completed guideline for approval and allows the Guideline Team to assist you with the process. 

General (4)

Guidelines developed by the NHMRC or approved by the NHMRC on public health, environmental health or ethics topics can be found by searching the NHMRC's publications.

If you need help in using the Portal or the Register please email clinicalguidelines@nhmrc.gov.au. If you are developing a clinical practice guideline and you are considering NHMRC approval please also email clinicalguidelines@nhmrc.gov.au. A member of the Guidelines team will also contact you directly when you register your guideline in development on the Register.

The register offers a basic search function. Using the ‘search for’ function you can search either for single keywords found in the guideline title, or for MeSH terms. 

MeSH terms are derived from the information supplied on the register or, where a guideline is under revision, from earlier versions of the guideline.

The portal contains a number of search filters to help you find specific guidelines.

Condition or disease: find guidelines linked to a particular term derived from the National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH). The MeSH terms allocated to a guideline are displayed on the portal to assist you in finding similar guidelines.

Guideline developer: find guidelines produced by a specific developer.

Life stage: find a guideline concerned with the care of a patient at a particular stage of life (e.g.: the neonate), or a containing specific sections or chapters about a life stage (e.g.: the treatment of lymphoma in adolescents).

Guideline funder: identify public and private funding agencies that have partially or completely funded clinical practice guidelines.

Year of publication: find guidelines from a specific year during the last five years.

Health-care setting: find a guideline concerned with care in a specific setting (e.g.: residential aged care) or containing sections or chapters about care in a specific setting (e.g.: smoking cessation counselling in the primary care setting).

Evidence documentation: guidelines meeting selection criterion three are categorised as ‘evidence documented’, that is the guideline, accompanying document or website contains a full description of the literature review and search process.

NHMRC approved: find guidelines approved by the NHMRC.

In addition, you can search for clinical practice guidelines by guideline name or keywords using the text search function. You may prefer to use this function if you are unfamiliar with MeSH terms.