Roles and responsibilities
An honorary Guidelines Committee oversees the Handbook's development. The Committee’s roles are:
- to guide development of the clinical questions that formed the scope of the handbook
- to identify clinical questions for systematic review
- to advise on the needs of target readers (mainly primary care health professionals)
- to advise on the composition and membership of the working groups
- to advise on research and interpretation of clinical evidence
- to guide the development of recommendations and commentary.
For each major edition, we convened multidisciplinary working groups for specific topics. The working groups’ roles were:
- to review and finalise the clinical questions for their topic area
- to select high-priority clinical questions for structured literature searches
- to formulate recommendations
- (if group’s topic included a systematic review) to synthesise evidence from systematic review, formulate evidence-based recommendations, and grade the recommendations
- to guide the secretariat in drafting commentary and review drafts.
For some topics, clinical expert consultants provided advice to the working group. For topics that involved a systematic review, a methodology consultant provided advice to the working group on evidence synthesis and the development of evidence-based recommendations.
The Guidelines Committee acted as the working group for topics that applied across the Handbook, such as the definition of asthma.
For each major edition, expert reviewers were engaged at both the beginning and end of the development process.
Before development commenced, expert reviewers conducted a preliminary review of the previous edition to identify key areas for revision. Content expert reviewers assessed currency of the recommendations and information, while primary care health professionals assessed feasibility of implementation and gaps in the guidance.
Independent expert review
Independent expert reviewers were appointed to review the near-final draft. Their involvement was confirmed before commencement and they did not participate in the development process, so as to ensure that they could provide independent review.