Process and methods

8 Linking to other guidance

This chapter describes how guidelines link to other NICE guidance in the topic area and to guidance from other developers.

Related NICE guidelines and guidance on health technologies should be identified during scoping of a guideline (see the chapter on the scope), or when checking if a guideline needs updating (see the chapter on ensuring that published guidelines are current and accurate). This includes identifying any related guidance or guidelines in development, as well as those that are published.

When a guideline topic covers guidance on health technologies that is published or in development, NICE staff with a quality assurance role work closely with NICE staff from the health technologies team to agree the approach to take.

8.4 Guidance from other developers

Sometimes relevant guidelines published by organisations other than NICE are identified in the search for evidence and considered appropriate for inclusion in the evidence base. Guidelines accredited by NICE are not subject to further appraisal of the guideline development process because this has already been assessed by NICE. However, the evidence reviews in the guideline will still need to be critically appraised (using checklists in the appendix on appraisal checklists, evidence tables, GRADE and economic profiles) to ensure that the quality of the evidence is appropriate for deriving NICE recommendations. Intellectual property issues need to be considered when using content from other organisations.

Published guidelines not accredited by NICE are assessed for quality using the AGREE II instrument or the AGREE global rating scale instrument. There is no cut‑off point for accepting or rejecting a guideline, and each committee needs to set its own parameters. These should be documented in the methods of the guideline, and a summary of the assessment included in the evidence review. The full results of the assessment should be presented with the guideline.

Reviews of evidence from guidelines that cover review questions being addressed by the committee may be considered as evidence if they:

  • are assessed as being of high quality using the appropriate methodology checklist (see the appendix on appraisal checklists, evidence tables, GRADE and economic profiles)

  • are accompanied by a GRADE table, GRADE-CERQual table or evidence statement and evidence tables

  • are assessed as being sufficiently up to date

  • do not have any intellectual property restrictions that would make it impossible to follow NICE's normal guideline development process.

If using evidence from published guidelines, the committee should create its own evidence summaries or statements (see the section on summarising evidence in the chapter on reviewing research evidence). Evidence tables from guidelines published by other organisations should be referenced with a direct link to the source website or a full reference of the published document. The committee should formulate its own recommendations, taking into consideration the whole body of evidence.

Recommendations from guidelines published by another organisation should not be quoted or linked to, unless the guideline has been accredited by NICE and the evidence reviews have been critically appraised to verify quality.

8.5 References and further reading

Brouwers MC, Kho ME, Browman GP et al. (2010) AGREE II: advancing guideline development, reporting and evaluation in health care. Canadian Medical Association Journal 182: E839–42