Thursday, December 19, 2019

Research Shorts: A Theoretical Framework and Competency-Based Approach to Training in Guideline Development


Contributed by Madelin Siedler, 2019/2020 U.S. GRADE Network Research Fellow

As an increasing number of organizations are developing clinical guidelines, expectations for the quality and trustworthiness of these guidelines are on the rise as well. Thus, there is an increased need for guideline-producing organizations to identify, train, and hire or contract with individuals who are adequately skilled in guideline development methods, and for a clear delineation of the knowledge and skill sets required of these individuals.


Recently, seven members of the U.S. GRADE Network and GRADE Working Group co-published an article establishing a framework of core competencies for individuals serving on guideline development panels in a variety of roles, from panel content experts to methodologists. The paper outlines the minimal knowledge, skills, and expertise that would allow an individual to perform tasks adequately. The framework describes three major domains of competency for guideline development: facilitating the development of guideline structure and setup, making judgments about the quality or certainty of evidence, and transforming evidence into recommendations.


Within each core competency, there are multiple sub-competencies and various educational “milestones” which further clarify the required skill. These milestones track to the five stages of educational development established by the Dreyfus model: novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert. The authors note that the required level of expertise related to these milestones will vary depending on the role of the individual in developing the guideline. While some sub-competencies related to rating of the certainty of evidence follow the GRADE approach specifically, much of the competency-based framework can be applied universally to other guideline development methodologies. The authors encourage future research efforts to validate, assess, and refine the proposed milestones for their widespread use in efforts to train the next generation of guideline developers.


Sultan S, Morgan RL, Murad MH, Falck-Ytter Y, Dahm P, Sch√ľnemann HJ, Mustafa RA. A Theoretical Framework and Competency-Based Approach to Training in Guideline Development. Journal of general internal medicine. 2019 Nov 14:1-7.

Manuscript available here on publisher's site.