Information for Patients


What are Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs)?

The Institute of Medicine defines Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) as “systemically developed statements to assist practitioner and patients’ decisions about appropriate healthcare for specific clinical circumstances”. Similarly, the American Psychological Association states that CPGs “provide research-based recommendations for the treatment of particular disorders. They generally include assessments of the strength of the current scientific evidence for each recommendation”. Many other organizations have proposed definitions of CPGs, including the Health Council of Canada, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

While many definitions for CPGs exist, they do not always capture all of the important elements of CPGs as applied to psychological practice. Beauchamp, Drapeau, and Dionne (2015) recommend using the definition proposed by the Institut National d’Excellence en Santé et en Services Sociaux (INESSS; National Institute of Excellence in Health and Social Services), who define CPGs as:

“Recommendations developed systematically and transparently by and for the stakeholders concerned with a specific intervention in social care. These recommendations are founded on the best evidence data supported by exhaustive contextual data and expert knowledge – particularly that of researchers, managers, social care practitioners, and social care users. They are presented in a clear and concise manner so that they can be understood by the stakeholders and thus support their decisions."

WATCH: What is a clinical practice guideline and what is not? BY: Andrea Reyes

Learn more:

Content last reviewed: Sept, 2020

Back to top