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Standard Operating Procedures Overview

Development of an American Urological Association (AUA) Guideline normally occurs over a two-and-a-half year period. It follows the nine stages described below.

For additional information, please see the unabridged version of our Standard Operating Procedures [pdf].

  1. Topic Nomination – Topics for Guidelines are nominated by members of the Practice Guidelines Committee or online by AUA members.
  2. Panel Identification – A panel member is selected based on his/her expertise in the topic area, ability to work in a team, and experience in methodology. An individual must not have any Conflicts of Interest (COI) with the guideline under consideration.
  3. Research Question Definition – The Guideline Panel sets the parameters for the study by setting the scope and inclusion/exclusion criteria, and by specifying the research questions to be investigated.
  4. Literature Review – A methodologist selects articles with pertinent data to answer the research questions from the results of the literature search conducted by a medical librarian.
  5. Data Extraction, Analysis and Synthesis – Relevant data is extracted; analyzed; meta-analyzed, when appropriate; and synthesized by the methodologist. The findings are presented to the Panel in an evidence report.
  6. Evidence Report Review and Guideline Statement Development – The Panel reviews the evidence report noting the strength of the evidence (A, B, or C) for each research question, and structures guideline statements (Strong, Moderate or Conditional Recommendation) to reflect the findings. Additional consensus statements may also be presented as Clinical Principle or Expert Opinion.
  7. Guideline Writing – The Panel creates a draft Guideline by writing the text that supports the guideline statements; the methodologist describes the approaches used in the study.
  8. Peer Review – The draft Guideline is reviewed by a minimum of 30 non-panel experts, often representing various disciplines. The document is also made available for public comment through the AUA website. The Panel then addresses all comments.
  9. Guideline Approval and Publication – Once the Guideline is approved by the Practice Guidelines Committee, it goes before the Science & Quality Council followed by the AUA Board of Directors for approval. The final Guideline is then officially published on the AUA website.

Following publication, a summary of the Guideline is published in The Journal of Urology®, and information about it is disseminated to the urologic community and the general public through webinars, pocket guides, patient guides, performance measures and educational courses.