Annals of Internal Medicine Validates ECRI Institute’s Standards for Trustworthy Clinical Guidelines

March 19, 2019

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA—One of the most widely cited and influential medical journals in the world highlights the standards used by ECRI Institute to assess the trustworthiness of clinical practice guidelines.

In an article posted online today, Annals of Internal Medicine delivers a peer-reviewed manuscript describing how ECRI Institute developed and tested the NGC Extent of Adherence to Trustworthy Standards (NEATS) instrument. NEATS enables ECRI Institute to verify how guidelines stack up to the Institute of Medicine’s 2011 standards for trustworthy guidelines.

NEATS covers a set of standards that guideline developers should strive to meet, including full disclosure of funding sources and financial conflicts of interest. The tool also assesses specific actions, including whether the guideline developer assembled a multidisciplinary guideline development group, engaged in a systematic review of the evidence, and appropriately rated the strength of the recommendations.

ECRI Institute created NEATS for use in the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) while under contract to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The tool assured high quality of guidelines included in NGC, and now does the same for the ECRI Guidelines Trust™. ECRI Institute is the only organization experienced and trained in using NEATS.

“Clinical practice guidelines vary substantially in quality,” says Karen Schoelles, MD, SM, FACP, vice president for clinical excellence and safety at ECRI Institute. “Our TRUST Scorecards provide essential information for clinical decision makers trying to understand different guidelines on the same topic.”

Clinicians, educators, policymakers, payers, and patients can also rely on ECRI’s TRUST (Transparency and Rigor Using Standards of Trustworthiness) Scorecards to assess the validity of a specific clinical practice guideline based on the rigor of evidence-based research and transparency in development.

All TRUST Scorecards are developed by specially trained staff at ECRI Institute, working collaboratively with guideline developers to ensure consistency, reliability, and accuracy.

For information and to register for ECRI Guidelines Trust for free, visit or e-mail us at

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About ECRI Institute
ECRI Institute, a nonprofit organization, is an independent, trusted authority on the medical practices and products that provide the safest, most cost-effective care. For more than half a century, ECRI Institute has built its reputation on rigorous evidence-based research, with an unwavering dedication to strict conflict-of-interest policies and transparent reporting of its findings. ECRI Institute is designated an Evidence-based Practice Center by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. ECRI Institute PSO is listed as a federally certified Patient Safety Organization by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Visit and follow @ECRI_Institute.

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