Clinical practice guidelines: Information scientists insufficiently represented on Committees

I follow a blog called Pharmalot in which I often come across interesting as well as relevant posts. One of the latest posts was on a study of clinical practice guidelines and their failure to meet IOM Standards. Of particular interest to our community, the author of the post mentioned the low representation of information specialists and patients or patient representatives on the Committees.

The recent study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, concluded that in a sample of 114 guidelines* available through the National Guideline Clearinghouse (AHRQ, USA),  only 23.7% included an information scientist on the Committee developing the guidelines (it was worse for inclusion of a patient or patient representative: only 16.7% included one). This result even made it into the abstract: “Committees developing guidelines rarely included an information scientist or a patient or patient representative.” It was given additional prominence in the article by being the last line of the article: “These criteria should pay particular attention to the problem of COIs, the process by which committees are selected, and the need for patient representatives and information scientists on these committees.” 

When taking a closer look at the Standards themselves, interestingly, information scientists are not explicitly mentioned (whereas patients are).

I wonder what the results would look like if this study were replicated in Quebec.

*Sampling is explained in the article and was based in part on MeSH indexing in the 26 Diseases categories: 5 guidelines per MeSH Disease Category were selected, guidelines overlapping multiple categories counted only once.


Kung J, Miller RR, Mackowiak PA. Failure of Clinical Practice Guidelines to Meet Institute of Medicine Standards: Two More Decades of Little, If Any, Progress. Arch Intern Med. 2012;():1-6. doi:10.1001/2013.jamainternmed.56.