JOURNAL ARTICLE

Selection of workers' compensation treatment guidelines: California experience

Philip Harber, Barbara O Wynn, Yee-Wei Lim, Soeren Mattke, Steven M Asch, Teryl K Nuckols
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2008, 50 (11): 1282-92
19001954

OBJECTIVE: Workers' compensation systems increasingly use mandatory treatment guidelines to guide clinicians and for utilization management. This article describes the steps for selecting such guidelines.

METHODS: On the basis of experience with the RAND/University of California, Los Angeles project to help California select guidelines, we identified the necessary choices and processes for guideline selection and evaluation.

RESULTS: Major steps in guideline selection include: 1) define purpose; 2) assign decision-making authority; 3) decide whether to use existing guidelines or develop new ones; 4) choose whether to use one or multiple existing guidelines; 5) specify clinical topics that guidelines should address; 6) identify and screen guidelines; 7) evaluate guidelines; 8) consider implications of results; 9) select guideline(s); 10) disseminate selection; and 11) assess long-term effectiveness.

CONCLUSIONS: Given the many choices required, selecting mandatory workers' compensation guidelines should involve careful planning and a transparent, well-defined process.

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