Clinical Guidelines are “systematically developed statements to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances”.
The development of ESGE guidelines takes into account the methodological criteria of the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation in Europe (AGREE) instrument (www.agreetrust.org) and on internationally acceptable criteria of methodological quality.
ESGE clinical guidelines contain recommendations on a particular clinical issue related to the field of gynaecological endoscopy or on the application of specific endoscopic techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of gynaecological disorders.
The potential benefits of practice guidelines are only as good as the quality of the practice guidelines themselves. It is widely accepted that there is a clear link between the quality of the recommendations and the level of the available evidence in the literature. Thus, the development of ESGE guidelines by the ESGE experts on a field is trying to be based on the best available evidence (most relevant and highest level of evidence). Furthermore, scientific and clinical evidence take precedence over expert judgement.
B. ESGE papers:
ESGE papers are publications expressing the position of the Society on various topics. The structure and the type of the publication could vary depending on the needs of the topic and the scientific aims to be covered. With this group of publications, ESGE provides Classifications of different diseases, Recommendations for the management of different groups of patients, Opinion on topics of clinical and scientific importance etc
Targets and potential implications of ESGE Guidelines and Position papers:
ESGE guidelines and position papers development is aiming to provide clinical recommendations to improve the quality of health care delivery within the European field of Gynaecological Endoscopy.
ESGE guidelines and position papers are also useful for the education and training of healthcare professionals and could facilitate the communication between patients and healthcare professionals.
Furthermore, it is generally accepted that practice guidelines could play an important role in health policy formation from the European policy makers and have evolved to cover topics across the health care continuum (e.g. health promotion, screening, diagnosis).
Potential medico-legal implications of clinical guidelines have been of ongoing concern to medical practitioners. However, clinical guidelines are intended as an aid to clinical judgement, not to replace it. The ultimate decision about a particular clinical procedure or treatment will always depend on each individual patient’s condition, circumstances and wishes, and the clinical judgement of the healthcare team as is represented within the disclaimer at the end of each guideline.
Clinical guidelines do not rob clinicians of their freedom, nor relieve them of their responsibility to make appropriate decisions based on their own knowledge and experience only.
ESGE Policy for common actions with other Societies:
In order to increase the value and the acceptance of the ESGE guidelines and position papers, ESGE has established an open policy of collaboration with Societies under its umbrella (e.g. BSGE, AGE etc), with Societies covering other geographical areas (e.g AAGL etc) or with Societies having topics of common interest (e.g. FIGO, EBCOG, ESHRE etc). The publications are signed as common documents and they are usually published simultaneously in the official journals of the Societies.
ESGE Guidelines and Recommendations: