Medicine is constantly evolving and we cannot expect caregivers always to be at the cutting edge of each new development. Guidelines for good clinical practice are tools designed for the daily practice of health professionals. They are “summaries”, based on the most recent scientific knowledge, supporting physicians in the treatment of a patient without having to read the entire scientific literature.
Developing such state-of-the-art tools requires very meticulous work, of which KCE researchers in particular have expert knowledge. But in order for guidelines to be usable in practice, they must also take account of the Belgian context and the daily reality of medical practice. This is why this type of project is always performed in dialogue with a wide panel of experienced clinicians – a Guideline Development Group – that are willing to participate in the numerous meetings. In that way, tools with updated knowledge, that are adapted to the needs of practitioners, are created.
From 2018 onwards, only proposals for development of guidelines for second or third line health care professionals can be submitted to KCE. In fact, from 2018 onwards the federal Evidence Based Practice (EBP) Programme assumes the responsibility for the development of guidelines for primary care professionals.
Enhancing the quality of care for all patients with cancer
Many of KCE guidelines are about the screening, treatment or follow-up of various cancers. This is part of a long-term project aiming at formulating recommendations for the most frequent cancers and/or for which there is an important diagnostic or therapeutic advance. The choice of the cancers to be studied is jointly made with the Belgian College of Oncology.
Publication of guidelines is only a first step in the improvement of the quality of care. In the following phase, quality indicators need to be set up. For this, KCE identifies sets of quality indicators on diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of patients, in order to enable practitioners to assess the level of quality of their work (feedback) and to adjust the way they provide care. These projects are jointly conducted by KCE and the Belgian Cancer Registry Foundation.