A hand search was used to identify specific studies cited for support of the recommendations made. A modified Appraisal of Guidelines Research and Evaluation instrument was used to provide a standardized assessment method for evaluating the quality of development of the evidence base and recommendations in guidelines and selected health policies. This was combined with appraisal of the evidence base supporting the recommendations.
Results. Three systematic reviews of general guidelines from a PubMed search yielding 94 citations were included. A convenience sample of five guidelines with recommendations on fusion was taken from 182
citations identified by the CA4P concentration National Guideline Clearinghouse and the International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment searches. Two guidelines were developed by US professional societies, (neurosurgery and pain management), and three were European-based guidelines (Belgium, United Kingdom, and the European Cooperation in Science and Technology). The general guidelines were consistent with their recommendations for diagnosis, but inconsistent regarding recommendations for treatment. All guidelines and payer policies with recommendations on fusion included some set of the primary randomized controlled trials comparing fusion
to other treatment options with the exception of one policy. However, no clear pattern with regard to the quality of development was identified based on the modified Appraisal Autophagy Compound Library mouse of Guidelines Research and Evaluation tool. There were differences in specialty society recommendations.
Conclusion. Three systematic reviews of evidence-based guidelines that provide general guidance for the assessment and treatment of chronic low back pain described consistent recommendations and guidance for the Ganetespib solubility dmso evaluation of chronic low back pain but inconsistent recommendations
and guidance for treatment. Five evidence-based guidelines with recommendations on the use of fusion for the treatment of chronic low back pain were evaluated. There is some consistency across guidelines and policies that are government sponsored with regard to development process and critical evaluation of index studies as well as overall recommendations. There were differences in specialty society recommendations. There is heterogeneity in the medical payer policies reviewed possibly due to variations in the literature cited and transparency of the development process. A description of how recommendations are formulated and disclosure of any potential bias in policy development is important. Three-medical payer policies reviewed are of poor quality with one rated as good with respect to their development based on the modified Appraisal of Guidelines Research and Evaluation tool. Medical payer policies influence patient care by defining medical necessity for approving treatments, and should be held to the same standards for transparency and development as guidelines.