About EAN Guidelines for Neurologists

An important aim of the EAN is to establish European standards of diagnosis, treatment and care within the various subfields of neurology. Europe with its very heterogeneous neurology needs to establish not only guidelines for the diagnosis and the treatment of neurological disorders, but also for the organisation of certain aspects of neurology.The guidelines of the EAN are produced by so-called task forces. A task force is a group of people with a chairperson and a written mandate, which usually runs for one to two years. The task forces are normally appointed by the Scientific Committee taking into consideration qualifications as well as geographical spread. A Task Force normally consists of a chairperson and at least six but not usually more than 12 members in order to facilitate the working process and the writing of the final guideline paper.
 

Building a better path for EAN Guidelines

The EAN Guideline Production Group (GPG) embarks on a new strategy for guideline development, which aims to:

  • Promote the development of high-quality, high-impact guidelines for the most important neurological diseases;
  • Increase in-house intellectual capital and building capabilities on supporting guideline development; and
  • Increase guideline production efficiency

In line with this, EAN will from now on employ also a top-down process* (i.e., the GPG determines the topics, which guidelines shall be written on ) when selecting guideline projects to support, to ensure that resources and attention are devoted to those areas in which clinical practice guidelines will provide the greatest benefit to patients, clinicians, and policy makers.

A set of criteria to be applied for prioritizing topics for future EAN guidelines was therefore defined, as well as the procedure for their implementation. For this purpose, the EAN GPG invited relevant stakeholders including professionals who have experience and expertise in the development, assessment and implementation of CPGs together with health policy makers, patient representatives and national organisations to take part in a Delphi consensus project.

*In order to accommodate any urgent and important topics that may emerge in between, EAN will still retain its bottom-up process. EAN members and Scientific Panels may still submit proposals via email.

 

EAN Guideline Production Process

Every 2 years, EAN shall open a Call for Guideline Topic Proposals to invite EAN Scientific Panel Members, EAN Individual Members, National Societies, Partner Societies, and Patient Representatives to submit guideline topics of interest. The EAN Guideline Production Group, Scientific Committee, and Board then review and select topics that are the most clinically relevant based on the EAN prioritization criteria.

The Call for Guideline Topic Proposals for 2022 has concluded. Results are available on our website and have been communicated to the proponents.

 

Following the priority criteria developed through the above-mentioned consensus, the EAN Guideline Production Group, Scientific Committee, and Board then evaluate all the topic proposals. The top-ranking 30 topics are then considered as Priority Topics, which have then a validity of 2 years.

The 7 Criteria for ranking the priority of EAN guidelines:

  • The health burden of the condition in the proposed topic
  • Potential for changing an existing practice
  • Impact on health outcomes (estimated positive impact of the guideline on morbidity, disability scores, mortality)
  • Absence of a guideline
  • Pre-existing guidelines of low quality or outdated guidelines (The guideline is more than 5 years old/was not revised within the last 5 years or there is recent evidence that could change current clinical practice).
  • Practice variation (non-harmonized best-practices among the European countries)
  • Uncertainty or controversy about best practice (due to new evidence or lack of evidence)

For 2022-2024, the 30 topics have already been ranked. See the priority list here.

 

Throughout the timeframe of validity of the Priority Topics, a limited number will be selected by the EAN Board by batch to receive dedicated funding using another set of criteria as listed below:

  • diversity in the subspecialties of the CPGs topics; 
  • proposals in association with a partner organization; 
  • proposals suggested by more than one SP; 
  • proposals suggested by SPs that have not published an EAN GL in the last 5 years; and
  • clinical areas not covered in a previous selection

An Invitation for Conducting Guidelines on Priority Topics will be sent to the relevant Scientific Panels to undertake the development of full clinical practice guidelines.

Topics have been selected for 2022 and 2023. The relevant Scientific Panels have already received the invitation. The Guideline Production Group, Scientific Committee, and Board will then review the proposals.
In case a Priority Topic is not selected for this round, the Panel has the option to submit it via the bottom-up process or wait for the next selection process. 

November 2023Selection of Priority Guidelines for 2023 by the Board
December 2023Announcement of Results 
January 2024Invitation for Conducting Guidelines on Priority Topics (Scientific Panels)
March 2024Guideline Project Kick-off
Q4 2024Call for Guideline Topic Proposals for the period 2024 - 2026

Once the Guideline Proposal has been officially accepted, the guideline will go through a rigorous production process.

STEPSDESCRIPTION
PROPOSAL ACCEPTANCEAn individual/group may submit a proposal via:
(1) top-down process; i.e. joining the Invitation for Conducting Guidelines for Priority Topics, in which the EAN selects a limited number of topics from the highest priority ranking topics from the Call for Guideline Topics and additional criteria.
(2) bottom-up process; i.e. submitting a Guideline Proposal directly to the GPG via scientific@ean.org. 

Please keep in mind that guidelines from the top-down process are of EAN’s priority and will receive dedicated funding. Proposals submitted through the bottom-up process will only receive the standard EAN support.
GUIDELINE TASKFORCE WORK ORGANIZATIONFollowed by an introduction meeting with the EAN guideline methodologist, The Guideline Taskforce shall provide the GPG with the organizational details of the guideline work, including the budget breakdown, register of interests, methodological support needed, etc. In case the guideline is a collaboration with another society, a guideline agreement is to be signed as well.  
PROTOCOL SUBMISSION

The Guideline Task Force defines in detail the stakeholder involvement, scope and purpose, literature search, PICOs, etc. by completing the EAN Guideline Protocol template.

PROTOCOL REVIEW & APPROVALThe Guideline Production Group and Scientific Committee review the Guideline Protocol submitted and provide feedback. Once the Guideline Task Force successfully amends all suggestions by the reviewers, the protocol is then considered approved.
GUIDELINE MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSIONThe Guideline Task Force drafts the guideline with the guidance of the Guideline Production Group.
GUIDELINE MANUSCRIPT APPROVALThe Guideline Production Group and Scientific Committee review the Guideline Manuscript submitted and provide feedback. Once the Guideline Task Force successfully revises the draft according to the comments, the manuscript is considered approved.
SUBMISSION TO EJoNThe guideline is submitted to EAN’s official journal, European Journal of Neurology (EJoN)
OPEN FOR PUBLIC COMMENTSSimultaneously, the guideline is uploaded online for 15 days, accessible to EAN individual members for comments. The Guideline Task Force decides whether to incorporate comments received.
EJoN PEER REVIEWThe guideline is reviewed by the EJoN
OFFICIAL ACCEPTANCEThe guideline is accepted as official EAN Guideline.
PROMOTIONOnce the guideline is officially accepted by the journal and is in preparation for publication, the EAN Head Office prepares infographics & EANPAges article in collaboration with the corresponding author, and other, like  social media posts for the guideline.
PUBLICATION

The EAN Guideline is published in EJoN

The EAN Guideline is put into Guideline Reference Center