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Placed on a long-term footing: Authors’ portal for clinical guideline development in new hands

TMF transfers portal ownership to user group – support already provided for more than 100 clinical guidelines

15 April 2019. Medical guidelines are vital decision-making tools for evidence-based patient care. They advise doctors on recommended treatments based on the most recent scientific findings and proven best practices. The portal supports the development and consensus-building process, entailing the effective collaboration of a large number of experts over a prolonged period. The portal partners work closely with the Association of the Scientific Medical Societies in Germany (AWMF) to develop guidelines in line with recognised standards.

The portal was originally designed and developed on the initiative of members of TMF (Technologies, Methods and Infrastructure for Networked Medical Research), and with the help of TMF funds, beginning in 2004. From 2009, the portal was operated on behalf of TMF by the Network of Experts in Intestinal Diseases at Charité Berlin. Since 2011, it has been operated and further evolved under a TMF license by the User Group for the Development of Medical Guidelines, a non-profit association. In addition, a variety of related services were created, such as systematic literature research by a team of scientific assistants. To enable the portal to be developed further in the hands of single organisation, TMF has retrospectively transferred all rights to the software platform to the current licensee with effect from 1 January 2019.

“The guideline development portal is a good example of how an infrastructure project at the interface between research and healthcare can be successfully turned into a permanent resource. Prompted by the need to support clinical researchers and developed with the help of users’ knowledge, the portal can now be placed onto entirely solid foundations, financially and in other ways,” stated Chairman of the Board of Directors of TMF, Professor Michael Krawczak (University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel Campus) to mark the signing of the contractual agreement. TMF has been supporting the development of medical research infrastructure for twenty years. “As a result, TMF has made an important contribution to the efficiency and sustainability of medical research in Germany,” added Krawczak.

The Chair of the User Group, Professor Britta Siegmund (Charité Berlin) underlined: “By assuming all rights to the guideline development portal, the user group can ensure the seamless continuation of the successful operation and ongoing development work of the last eight years, something achieved in close liaison with the medical societies and associations.” The focus on the needs of the users is reflected in more than 100 guidelines developed by more than 20 medical societies and associations with the portal’s assistance. “The transfer of ownership will make it even easier to take into consideration the requirements of users and to give the portal the necessary financial independence.”

The authors’ portal allows developers to continue to evolve medical guidelines. The goal is to efficiently aid consensus-building, a process that is often hampered by gaps in knowledge and organisational obstacles in day-to-day clinical activities. Information and recent findings are presented in a structured way. The portal preserves knowledge, and streamlines and documents decision-making by means of standardised tools. This is also of direct benefit to patients, as they receive enhanced treatment based on the latest medical research. Additionally, doctors are better able to focus their treatment decisions on the specifics of each patient.

TMF (Technology, Methods and Infrastructure for Networked Medical Research) is the umbrella organisation for networked medical research in Germany. It is a platform for interdisciplinary exchange, cross-project and multi-site collaboration – with the aim of identifying and resolving the organisational, legal/ethical and technological issues encountered in today’s medical research. It makes a number of resources available free of charge to the general public – such as expert opinions, generic concepts , software applications, checklists, practical guides, training, and consulting services.

The User Group for the Development of Medical Guidelines (User Group - Med. Leitlinienentwicklung e.V.) was established in 2011 by medical societies and associations responsible for developing German and international guidelines. Since its foundation, the non-profit association has managed the guideline development portal. Members of the group are able to directly influence the portal’s functionality, content, organisation and economic model. Day-to-day operation is entrusted to CGS - Clinical Guideline Services GmbH, guaranteeing the ongoing operation of the portal.

The portal is accessible at www.guideline-services.com. Charges are based on the services used.

Contact:

Stefan Rabe, TMF, Technology, Methods and Infrastructure for Networked Medical Research, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Tel.: +49 (0)30 220024-723, Mobile: +49 (0)173 6141663, Email: presse@tmf-ev.de, www.tmf-ev.de

Torsten Karge, User Group for the Development of Medical Guidelines, Tel.: +49 (0)30 8445 3950, Email: t.karge@cgs-usergroup.de, www.cgs-usergroup.de


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