Simplifying the language of evidence to improve patient care: Strength of recommendation taxonomy (SORT): a patient-centered approach to grading evidence in medical literature

J Fam Pract. 2004 Feb;53(2):111-20.


Several taxonomies exist for rating individual studies and the strength of recommendations, making the analysis of evidence confusing for practitioners. A new grading scale-the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy (SORT)-will be used by several family medicine and primary care journals (required or optional), allowing readers to learn 1 consistently applied taxonomy of evidence. SORT is built around the information mastery framework, which emphasizes the use of patient-oriented outcomes that measure changes in morbidity or mortality. Levels of evidence from 1 to 3 for individual studies also are defined. An A-level recommendation is based on consistent and good-quality patient-oriented evidence; a B-level recommendation is based on inconsistent or limited-quality patient-oriented evidence; and a C-level recommendation is based on consensus, usual practice, opinion, disease-oriented evidence, or case series for studies of diagnosis, treatment, prevention, or screening.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / classification*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / standards
  • Family Practice
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Periodicals as Topic
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards
  • Review Literature as Topic