Evaluation of the Clarity and Completeness of Reporting in Orthopedic Clinical Practice Guidelines

Keith Fishbeck, DO; Jake X. Checketts, BS; Craig M. Cooper, BS; Jared T. Scott, BS; and Matt Vassar, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: June 1, 2019

Accepted: June 24, 2019

Published: February 1, 2020

J Osteopath Med; 120(2): 74-80

Background: Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) can positively affect the quality of patient care offered by physicians because they decrease variability in clinical practice and may help reduce unnecessary testing, promoting a more responsible use of resources. Building on existing framework for reporting guideline development, including the work of the Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research Network, the Reporting Items for Practice Guidelines in Healthcare (RIGHT) Working Group created a 2016 checklist of 35 items considered essential for high-quality reporting of CPGs.

Objectives: To evaluate how many previously published CPGs in orthopedic surgery met the RIGHT criteria and assess how improvements can be made in future orthopedic CPGs based on any found deficiencies.

Methods: All 18 CPGs published before January 1, 2018, by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) are publicly available on Two authors downloaded each file and both of those authors independently scored each CPG using piloted abstraction RIGHT checklist forms.

Results: Of the 35 RIGHT criteria outlined in 22 checklist items, 23 (65.7%) were met across all AAOS guidelines, 6 (17.1%) were not met by any of the AAOS guidelines, and 6 (17.2%) were met by some of the AAOS guidelines.

Conclusions: Overall, the AAOS guidelines addressed many important recommendations within the RIGHT checklist. Assessing adherence to the RIGHT checklist can help ensure that future guidelines are more effectively communicated, hopefully assisting end users in efficient implementation and increasing the level of evidence-based patient care.

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