Clinical practice guidelines have been developed for numerous clinical scenarios, including the management of community-acquired pneumonia, asthma, COPD exacerbations, and many other conditions. The purpose of guidelines is to provide a blueprint for the best clinical practice in a given situation based on current evidence and expert opinion.1–2
In this way, guidelines are meant to standardize practice, to serve an educational function, to enhance resource utilization, and, ultimately, to improve patient outcomes. However, the creation of guidelines does not guarantee that these goals will be achieved. In fact, ill-conceived guidelines can promote increased resource consumption without improved outcomes. Thus, evaluation and modification are important components of guideline maintenance to ascertain that they are achieving the desired goals.