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Health Professional News

The five W’s of clinical guidelines


Children’s Minnesota has created a number of clinical practice guidelines for health professionals that incorporate a review of the evidence and provide clear recommendations for managing certain conditions.

Dr. Gabrielle Hester, medical director of quality improvement at Children’s Minnesota notes, “The goal of guidelines is to make it easy for the provider to do the right thing. Providers are super busy and guidelines can get them evidence-based recommendations quickly to help make decisions for the patient in front of them.”


At a minimum, Children’s Minnesota clinical guidelines are updated every three years. Revisions are informed by evidence from scientific literature and an assessment of various care options.


The Clinical Decision Support page on Star Net presents approaches to care that are designed to embed best practices within our clinical teams. These may include clinical guidelines and advanced ordersets (powerplans) which provide specific recommendations regarding management of a condition. Guidelines are also accessible on the health professionals page.

Additionally, keep an eye out for Guidelines with Gabi episodes on our clinical podcast, Talking Pediatrics. They can be a great resource for better understanding how and why guidelines are created or revised.


You! Regardless of if you’ve been practicing medicine for three years or 30, clinical guidelines offer the most up-to-date diagnosis and treatment recommendations, many of which have undergone changes since you completed training.


At the heart of every new or revised clinical guideline is improving patient outcomes. Guidelines promote interventions of proven benefit and discourage ineffective ones, they have the potential to reduce morbidity and mortality and improve quality of life, and may also reduce unnecessary variation in care across our two hospitals and nine clinics1.

“As a busy pediatric hospitalist, I was drawn to quality improvement because I saw it as a way to make myself and my colleagues more efficient and more effective at our jobs of providing top quality care to our patients and families,” said Dr. Hester.


The Guideline Governance Council is a multidisciplinary team that was created to support the development of shared clinical guidelines at Children’s Minnesota. The Council’s goal is to ensure that Children’s Minnesota guidelines are appropriate, recognizable, available on the intranet and within the EMR, widely publicized, and routinely reviewed and revised to reflect current, nationally-recognized best practices.

As we approach cold and flu season, and as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, here are some clinical guidelines you may find helpful:


This goes without saying, but remember: These materials are designed for general use with most patients; each clinician should use their own independent judgment to meet the needs of each individual. These materials are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

If you need further advice, don’t hesitate to Ask a Specialist or call our Physician Access line at 866-755-2121 for 24/7 assistance with questions, referrals or admissions.


  1. Woolf SH, Grol R, Hutchinson a, Eccles M, Grimshaw J. Clinical guidelines: potential benefits, limitations, and harms of clinical guidelines. BMJ. 1999;318(7182):527-530. doi:10.1136/bmj.318.7182.527.