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Our journey towards dynamic, living guideline recommendations

November 2021
Our chief executive, Gillian Leng.
Dear <<First name>>,

We are transforming the way we produce, update and present our guidelines. Over the next 5 years, we will move towards a care pathway approach, in topic suites that represent the biggest priorities for the health and care system. By moving away from producing and updating separate guidelines, we will deliver dynamic, living guideline recommendations that are useful and useable, rapidly updated and incorporate the latest evidence.

Responding to the needs of the health and care system

Busy health and care practitioners need quick and easy access to best practice recommendations. The people who use our guidelines have told us that we need to make our recommendations easier to find, to understand and to use. NICE’s growing portfolio, together with the changing way people access and use digital information, means we must evolve. 

In response, we have set out a strategic ambition to produce guideline recommendations in a new interactive format. To achieve this, we have brought together a multi-disciplinary project team, initially focusing on redesigning our recommendations on type 2 diabetes in adults. 

The aim of the project is to develop new ways of creating, structuring and presenting our recommendations to better reflect the needs of end users. We are creating prototypes that are being tested with users. We will keep testing and iterating these prototypes as the project progresses to make sure we are meeting user needs. 
Front cover of the NICE strategy 2021 to 2026.

Our strategy sets out an ambitious vision for the future where we will provide dynamic, living guideline recommendations that are useful, useable and rapidly updated.

They will incorporate the latest evidence and newly recommended technologies to maximise uptake and access for patients.

Dynamic and rapid updates

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven new collaborative and international ways of working. By sharing high-quality evidence with our colleagues around the world, we have been able to develop a suite of guidelines on COVID-19 more quickly than ever before. We are continuously updating our COVID-19 recommendations to incorporate the latest evidence and keep abreast of new developments in diagnosis and treatment. 

Our ambition is to replicate this ‘living guideline’ approach across our topic portfolio. We took an important step towards this in September 2021 when we signed a collaborative agreement with Cochrane. The agreement will enable us to better use Cochrane reviews to respond quickly when the evidence underpinning our recommendations changes. This will facilitate efficient and effective updates to the recommendations in our guidelines, supporting one of our core strategic objectives to provide living guidelines that are dynamic and rapidly updated.

Testing a guideline authoring and publishing tool 

We are exploring different tools for developing guidelines, for example the managing COVID-19 guideline authored using the ‘Making GRADE the Irresistible Choice’ publishing platform (MAGICapp). MAGICapp is a web-based tool used by organisations such as Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council and the World Health Organization. The platform allows the efficient sharing of evidence between guideline developers from around the world. It helps organisations like NICE to author, publish and update digital clinical guidelines based on the best current evidence and presents the guideline using an interactive structure. We are assessing the extent to which MAGICapp can support our requirements for dynamic, living guideline recommendations. 

Next steps

We will be testing the new design and presentation of our guidelines with our audiences throughout the development process. If you would like to get involved in this important work, please let us know. This is your opportunity to shape how we produce and present content in the future. We look forward to working with our stakeholders to make our vision a reality.
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Gillian Leng CBE
Chief executive, NICE
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