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Improving the quality of health care: using international collaboration to inform guideline programmes by founding the Guidelines International Network (G-I-N)
  1. G Ollenschläger1,
  2. C Marshall2,
  3. S Qureshi3,
  4. K Rosenbrand4,
  5. J Burgers4,5,
  6. M Mäkelä6,
  7. J Slutsky7,
  8. for the Board of Trustees 2002, Guidelines International Network (G-I-N)
  1. 1Agency for Quality in Medicine (AQuMed), Cologne, Germany
  2. 2New Zealand Guidelines Group (NZGG), Wellington, New Zealand
  3. 3Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN), Edinburgh, UK
  4. 4Dutch Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  5. 5Centre for Quality of Care Research, University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  6. 6Finnish Office for Health Technology Assessment (FinOHTA), Helsinki, Finland
  7. 7Center for Outcomes and Evidence, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor G Ollenschläger
 Agency for Quality in Medicine/Aerztliches Zentrum fuer Qualitaet in der Medizin, Wegelystr. 3, 10623 Berlin, Germany;


Clinical practice guidelines are regarded as powerful tools to achieve effective health care. Although many countries have built up experience in the development, appraisal, and implementation of guidelines, until recently there has been no established forum for collaboration at an international level. As a result, in different countries seeking similar goals and using similar strategies, efforts have been unnecessarily duplicated and opportunities for harmonisation lost because of the lack of a supporting organisational framework. This triggered a proposal in 2001 for an international guidelines network built on existing partnerships. A baseline survey confirmed a strong demand for such an entity. A multinational group of guideline experts initiated the development of a non-profit organisation aimed at promotion of systematic guideline development and implementation. The Guidelines International Network (G-I-N) was founded in November 2002. One year later the Network released the International Guideline Library, a searchable database which now contains more than 2000 guideline resources including published guidelines, guidelines under development, “guidelines for guidelines”, training materials, and patient information tools. By June 2004, 52 organisations from 27 countries had joined the network including institutions from Oceania, North America, and Europe, and WHO. This paper describes the process that led to the foundation of the G-I-N, its characteristics, prime activities, and ideas on future projects and collaboration.

  • guidelines
  • international cooperation
  • evidence based medicine

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  • * The Guidelines International Network is a Scottish Guarantee Company recognised as a Scottish charity. The Members of the Board of Trustees 2002 are listed in the Acknowledgements section at the end of the paper.

  • See editorial, p 410

  • Competing interests: none declared

  • The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors. No official endorsement by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or the US Department of Health and Human Services is intended or should be inferred.

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