Table 1

Comparison of the key features of guidelines and recommendations for good practice

Recommendations for good practiceEvidence-based guidelines
TopicClinical/laboratory topics with significant uncertainty and variation in practice, which cannot be addressed as an evidence-based guidelineClinical/laboratory topics for which there is sufficient evidence to answer key questions
OutputOne or more papers published in a scientific journalFull guideline published online +
summary published in a scientific journal
Patient version (if relevant)
No patient version for technical recommendations
Patient version (if relevant)
Implementation toolsImplementation tools
Supporting evidenceExpert opinion
Any available evidence, but mostly limited to observational data based on a limited amount of cases
Systematics reviews, RCTs, observational data (on large case series) or lower quality evidence
RecommendationsConsensus-basedPrimarily evidence-based
Development groupWorking groupGuideline development group
8–10 members10–15 members
Experts with hands-on expertiseContent experts
Non-expert clinicians
Patient representative
Allied healthcare professionals
Time frame12 months from the first meeting18–24 months from the first meeting
External reviewStrongly recommended* Obligatory
4 weeks6 weeks
  • *External review can be irrelevant if a larger group of stakeholders was involved during consensus development.

  • RCT, randomised controlled trial.