The Guidelines Challenge

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

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This chapter looks at one of the key problems experienced by practitioners of medicine today, especially in large or public institutions, which is how to handle guidelines. Public management approaches to medicine tend to promote guidelines as rules to follow, and clinicians often feel pressure to follow a guideline even when their judgment cautions them to do otherwise. This ‘tramline’ approach to guidelines, we show, is philosophically as well as practically problematic. Especially when we take dispositions as the ontology of the causal relations that guidelines want to key in on—the best way to cause a recovery, or to counteract the causes of a condition—we see that guidelines cannot and ought not be treated as rules to be followed. We thus also make suggestions in this chapter about what kinds of guidelines, in terms of form and function, might be ideal.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRethinking Causality, Complexity and Evidence for the Unique Patient
Subtitle of host publicationA CauseHealth Resource for Healthcare Professionals and the Clinical Encounter
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783030412395
ISBN (Print)9783030412388
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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