AGREE to disagree: Critical appraisal and the publication of practice guidelines

Roger Wiseman, Karen Cohen, Andy Gray, Khadija Jamaloodien, Tamara Kredo, Jacqui Miot, Andy Parrish, Bettina Taylor, Marc Blockman


Treatment guidelines are important in influencing public policy, promoting distributive justice and advocating better healthcare delivery for those in need. With an increased frequency in publication of clinical guidelines in South Africa, there is a heightened responsibility to ensure the application of due process throughout their development and publication. The need for consensus opinion is critical in the application of evidence-based medicine principles, and clinical guidelines contribute fundamentally towards the process of decision making and prioritisation. The SAMJ has recognised these imperatives as well as the important role that guidelines play in setting standards for clinical practice. In fulfilling this obligation, this editorial introduces the journal’s readership to the AGREE II instrument as an objective appraisal mechanism against which prospective clinical guidelines will be assessed prior to their publication.

Authors' affiliations

Roger Wiseman, Liberty Health Holdings, Cape Town, South Africa

Karen Cohen, Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Andy Gray, Division of Pharmacology, Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Khadija Jamaloodien, National Department of Health, South Africa

Tamara Kredo, South African Cochrane Centre, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa

Jacqui Miot, Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Andy Parrish, Department of Internal Medicine, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, and Cecilia Makiwane Hospital, East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Bettina Taylor, Medscheme Health Policy Unit, Cape Town, South Africa

Marc Blockman, Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Treatment guidelines; Consensus opinion; Evidence-based medicine; AGREE-II

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2014;104(5):345-346. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.8215

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-03-19
Date published: 2014-04-09

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