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The Standard of Care: Clinical Practice Guidelines

In many ways, if customary care and evidence-based research got together and had a baby, it would be the clinical practice guideline. Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) standardize treatment by placing patients with particular diagnoses on a relatively uniform pathway. CPG pathways are found by identifying and standardizing successful customary care practices or through research generated in evidence-based studies.

Unsurprisingly, the two often overlap.

Clinical guidelines with benchmark quality care rooted in science have been shown to improve patient safety. For example, in 1985, anesthesiologists, motivated by increasing malpractice premiums and studies showing that human error was the most frequent cause of patient harm, undertook a thorough examination of their practices.