Creating implementable clinical practice guidelines: the 2020 Focused Updates to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Asthma Management Guidelines

Implement Sci Commun. 2023 Mar 31;4(1):36. doi: 10.1186/s43058-023-00417-3.


Background: The 2020 Focused Updates to the Asthma Management Guidelines: A Report from the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Coordinating Committee Expert Panel Working Group provides the first new clinical practice recommendations from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) since the previous 2007 asthma management guidelines. Guideline implementability was a high priority for the expert panel, and many approaches were undertaken to enhance the implementability of this clinical guideline update. Within the report, specific implementation guidance sections provide expanded summaries for each recommendation to quickly assist users. The implementation guidance incorporates findings from NHLBI-sponsored focus groups conducted with people who have asthma, caregivers, and health care providers. The findings were used to identify the types of information and tools that individuals with asthma, their caregivers, and their health care providers would find most helpful; ensure that the new asthma guidelines reflect the voices of individuals with asthma and their caregivers; and identify potential barriers to uptake by individuals with asthma and their caregivers. The expert panel used a GRADE-based approach to develop evidence-to-decision tables that provided a framework for assessing the evidence and consideration of a range of contextual factors that influenced the recommendations such as desirable and undesirable effects, certainty of evidence, values, balance of effects, acceptability, feasibility, and equity. To facilitate uptake in clinical care workflow, selected recommendations were converted into structured, computer-based clinical decision support artifacts, and the new recommendations were integrated into existing treatment tables used in the 2007 asthma management guidelines, with which many users are familiar. A comprehensive approach to improve guidelines dissemination and implementation included scientific publications, patient materials, media activities, stakeholder engagement, and professional education.

Conclusion: We developed evidence-based clinical practice guideline updates for asthma management focused on six topic areas. The guideline development processes and implementation and dissemination activities undertaken sought to enhance implementability by focusing on intrinsic factors as described by Kastner, Gagliardi, and others to produce usable, adoptable, and adaptable guidelines. Enhanced collaboration during guideline development between authors, informaticists, and implementation scientists may facilitate the development of tools that support the application of recommendations to further improve implementability.

Keywords: Asthma; Clinical decision support; Guidelines; Implementability.

Publication types

  • Letter