Health Improvement Institute has launched a project to harmonize health research guidelines.
"Much research is of questionable quality. Improving health care and enabling people to maintain their health requires better research," said Dr. Peter G. Goldschmidt, the institute's president. "Guidelines offer one way of increasing the productivity of the research enterprise."
Currently, there are conflicts, overlaps and gaps in needed health research guidelines, according to 35 experts who met in Rockville, Md., last November to develop arrangements for a guidelines' harmonization mechanism. They represented guideline developers, users from industry and academia and use-facilitators and end-users, including regulators, funders and providers.
Participants agreed on the need to establish a harmonization mechanism (to foster excellence), to involve stakeholders (to avoid duplication) and to work closely with organizations (to promote adoption).
Based on participants' recommendations, the Health Improvement Institute is planning to: establish a worldwide network of relevant alliances, associations and other stakeholders; create a resource center; develop "guidelines for guidelines" to facilitate guidelines' development, to assess their quality and to aid in their harmonization, adoption and evaluation; and work with stakeholders to harmonize, improve and elaborate needed but missing health research guidelines, and to promote their adoption.
"There is an urgent need to develop a 'meta-guideline'—a systematic approach to harmonizing guidelines—to realize the full benefits of such efforts. The HII research guidelines project will facilitate achieving this goal," said Dr. Greg Koski, founder of the Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety, and former director of the U.S. Office for Human Research Protections.
"We invite alliances and associations throughout the world that are part of the health research enterprise to participate in the project to ensure its success," added Goldschmidt. "The project is needed to keep up with the changing science of science, to ensure the utility of research results, to meet the increasing demand for efficiency and, above all, to maintain public trust."