Patient versions of guidelines (PVGs) can provide crucial information about diagnoses and management options to patients in clear, plain language and can help guide shared decision-making between patients and their providers to improve the quality of care. However, the construction and reporting of PVGs is variable in terms of quality and content. Now, a new extension of the Reporting Tool for Practice Guidelines in Health Care - the RIGHT-PVG - aims to standardize the development of such documents.
Development of the RIGHT-PVG comprised 17 experts from around the world with experience in guideline development, patient communication, and epidemiology, and clinical practice. First, an initial list of items was generated from common themes in a sample of 30 PVGs. Then, four organizational guidance documents for the development of PVGs were identified and used to refine initial criteria. Two rounds of a modified Delphi consultation were used to further pare and refine checklist items from an original list of 45, with all panelist feedback anonymized.
Final items included within the RIGHT-PVG fell under four main categories:
- Basic information: items 1-3 include the reporting of title and copyright, contact information, and a general summary of the PVG's key points.
- Background: items 4-6 include a general introduction to the topic at hand, information about the scope and target audience of the document, and a link to the original guideline off of which the PVG is based.
- Recommendations: items 7 and 8 comprise the meat of the PVG: what is the guideline recommending, for whom, and what are the potential desirable and undesirable effects of the intervention?
- Recommendations should be easily identifiable via boxing, shading/coloring, or bold type.
- The strength of each recommendation should be included along with a transparent reporting of the certainty of the evidence behind it.
- Easy-to-understand symbols can be used to denote the differences between strong and more conditional recommendations.
- Other information: items 9-12 recommend the inclusion of suggested questions for the reader to ask their provider; a glossary of terms and abbreviations; information about how the guideline was funded; and disclosure of any relevant conflicts of interest.