Incorporating a gender perspective into the development of clinical guidelines: a training course for guideline developers

Implement Sci. 2007 Nov 12;2:35. doi: 10.1186/1748-5908-2-35.


Background: Dutch guideline-developing organizations do not focus systematically on differences between men and women when developing guidelines, even though there is increasing evidence that being male or female may have an effect on health and health outcomes. In collaboration with two prominent Dutch guideline-developing organizations, we designed a training course to encourage systematic attention to sex differences in guideline development procedures.

Methods: The course is targeted towards guideline developers. Its aims are to improve awareness concerning the relevance of considering sex differences in the guideline development process, as well as the competence and skills necessary for putting this into practice. The design and teaching methods of the course are based on adult learning styles and principles of changing provider behaviour. It was adjusted to the working methods of guideline organizations. The course was taught to, and evaluated by, a group of staff members from two guideline organizations in the Netherlands.

Results: The course consists of five modules, each of which corresponds to a key step in the guideline development process. The participants rated the training course positively on content, programme, and trainers. Their written comments suggest that the course met its objectives.

Conclusion: The training course is the first to address sex differences in guideline development. Results from the pilot test suggest that the course achieved its objectives. Because its modules and teaching methods of the course are widely transferable, the course could be useful for many organizations that are involved in developing guidelines. Follow-up studies are needed to assess the long-term effect of the course on the actions of guideline developers and its utility in other settings.