Clinical Corner: Looking for Clinical Practice Guidelines?

Clinical Corner


Clinical practice guidelines are “systematically developed statements to assist practitioners and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific circumstances”* and are typically published by healthcare organizations such as the American Cancer Society or the American Heart Association. 


Clinical practice guidelines can be found in many different resources, including databases, journals, and websites. Here are several options for locating guidelines:

  • DynaMed – This clinical point-of-care tool is one of the quickest ways to find clinical practice guidelines on a single topic grouped together.
    • Example: From the DynaMed home page, type “hypertension” in the search box. From the results that follow, click the link for the first summary titled “Hypertension.” On the main summary page you will see a table of contents listing – near the bottom of the list, click the link for “Guidelines and Resources.” This will provide a comprehensive listing of guidelines from the US, UK, Canada, and other regions.
  • National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) – Sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, NGC  is a searchable repository of guidelines published by various healthcare organizations. You can type in a topic, or browse by clinical specialty areas.
  • PubMed – Many clinical practice guidelines are indexed in PubMed, but it can be a little more difficult to search for these without getting too many irrelevant results. One way to filter out some (but not all) of the irrelevant articles is to add this phrase to the end of your search terms: AND (guideline[pt] OR guideline*[ti])
    • Example: If you are searching for hypertension guidelines, go to the PubMed home page and type this into the search box:
      • hypertension AND (guideline[pt] OR guideline*[ti])


For individualized assistance in searching for clinical practice guidelines, please contact me at the email or phone number below, or submit an online request form at


Kristen DeSanto, MSLS, MS, RD, AHIP      

Clinical Librarian • 303-724-2121


* Field MJ, Lohr KN (Eds). Clinical Practice Guidelines: Directions for a New Program, Institute of Medicine, Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1990.