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Assessment of the methodological quality of local clinical practice guidelines on the identification and management of gestational diabetes

14 Jun 2019


Gestational diabetes is the most common metabolic disorder of pregnancy, and it is important that well-written clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) are used to optimise healthcare delivery and improve patient outcomes. The aim of the study was to assess the methodological quality of hospital-based CPGs on the identification and management of gestational diabetes.


We conducted an assessment of local clinical guidelines in English for gestational diabetes using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE II) to assess and validate methodological quality.

Data sources and eligibility criteria

We sought a representative selection of local CPGs accessible by the internet. Criteria for inclusion were (1) identified as a guideline, (2) written in English, (3) produced by or for the hospital in a Western country, (4) included diagnostic criteria and recommendations concerning gestational diabetes, (5) grounded on evidence-based medicine and (6) accessible over the internet. No more than two CPGs were selected from any single country.


Of the 56 CPGs identified, 7 were evaluated in detail by five reviewers using the standard AGREE II instrument. Interrater variance was calculated, with strong agreement observed for those protocols considered by reviewers as the highest and lowest scoring based on the instrument. CPG results for each of the six AGREE II domains are presented categorically using a 5-point Likert scale. Only one CPG scored above average in five or more of the domains. Overall scores ranged from 91.6 (the strongest) to 50 (the weakest). Significant variation existed in the methodological quality of CPGs, even though they followed the guideline of an advising body. Specifically, appropriate identification of the evidence relied on to inform clinical decision making in CPGs was poor, as was evidence of user involvement in the development of the guideline, resource implications, documentation of competing interests of the guideline development group and evidence of external review.


The limitations described are important considerations for updating current and new CPGs.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open