Knowledge management and health

Guidelines Review Committee (GRC)

The GRC was established by the Director General in 2007 to ensure that WHO guidelines are of a high methodological quality and are developed through a transparent, evidence-based decision-making process.

The GRC meets on a monthly basis to review initial proposals for guideline development and final versions of guidelines prior to their publication. The review of initial proposal includes an assessment of whether the guideline development process will be able to meet the WHO requirements that are described in the WHO handbook for guideline development. The review of final submissions is conducted to ensure the process and form of the recommendations has followed the WHO requirements guidelines. The GRC also offers suggestions and advice on how to improve the quality of the guidelines.

Secretariat

The Secretariat of the GRC is in the Innovation, Information, Evidence and Research Cluster.

The principal aims of the Secretariat are to:

  • coordinate and provide technical support on guidelines development to WHO departments, headquarters and regional offices;
  • organize trainings on guideline production for WHO staff members;
  • provide administrative support for the work of the GRC;
  • collaborate and cooperate with other organizations and international networks that provide methodological expertise in relation to guideline development, adaptation and implementation;
  • implement the WHO handbook for guideline development;
  • maintain the database of the GRC approved guidelines; and
  • provide a 'handbook' for health systems' guidance.

WHO handbook for guideline development

This handbook provides detailed instructions for guideline developers on the following topics:

  • application of high quality methodology for guideline development using systematic search strategies, synthesis and quality assessment of the best available evidence to support the recommendations;
  • appropriate collection and management of experts’ declared conflict of interest;
  • expert group composition including content experts, methodologists, target users, policy makers, with gender and geographical balance;
  • instructions for the management of group process to achieve consensus among experts;
  • standards for a transparent decision-making process, taking into consideration potential harms and benefits, end users values and preferences;
  • developing plans for implementing and adapting guidelines; and
  • minimum standards for reporting.
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