This study aimed to evaluate the quality of the current clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) in traditional medicine (TM) in South Korea using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE) II instrument to further enhance the CPG development.
A search was performed for guidelines in Korea from inception until March 2014 in the major Korean guideline websites [the Korean Medical Guideline Information Centre (KoMGI), the Korean Guideline Clearing House (KGC)], PubMed and seven Korean electronic databases; the Association of Korean Oriental Medicine (AKOM) was also consulted. Five independent assessors rated the quality of each CPG using the AGREE II instrument and calculated the mean score of each AGREE item. The overall agreement amongst reviewers was evaluated using the intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC).
Initially, 17 CPGs were examined for TM in Korea, and only 8 CPGs satisfied the inclusion criteria. The mean scores for each AGREE II domain were as follows: (1) scope and purpose, 60.0 % (CIs, 45.05-74.94 %); (2) stakeholder involvement, 56.11 % (41.28-70.94 %); (3) rigour of development, 42.7 % (23.48-61.92 %); (4) clarity and presentation, 62.50 % (50.89-74.10 %); (5) applicability, 20.31 % (13.96-26.66 %); and (6) editorial independence, 44.58 % (10.78-78.38 %). All of the CPGs were rated as “recommended with provisos or modifications”. The ICC values for CPG appraisal using the AGREE II ranged from 0.230 to 0.993.
To improve clinical practice and health outcomes, well-developed CPGs are needed. The quality of CPGs for TM in Korea has remained suboptimal according to the AGREE II instrument evaluation. Therefore, guideline developers in Korea should make more of an effort to ensure high-quality CPGs.||