SAGE is a publicly accessible online repository of evidence-based information for those interested in guidelines and standards and in sharing knowledge to improve cancer control. It is an initiative of the Partnership’s Cancer Guidelines Action Group.
The database is expected to make cancer patients and their families better informed about best practices so they can more effectively participate in decision-making about their own health with their oncologist. – Dr. George Browman, Chair, Cancer Guidelines Action Group
The database will allow those who are planning to develop guidelines access to others with the same expertise and experiences, thus facilitating collaborative efforts and allowing developers to focus their efforts on common problems.
This repository will be part of the Partnership’s portal to be launched in the spring of 2009. It will offer tools and resources to assist in the development and implementation of high-quality standards and guidelines and to facilitate their use in decision-making.
By supporting and facilitating collaboration among regional, provincial, national and international guideline development groups, SAGE helps avoid duplication of effort, thus saving time, resources and work for governments, institutions and individuals engaged in developing, improving, adapting and updating guidelines for cancer control.
Users can search through current evidence, share information and gain access to useful tools. SAGE is divided into four main components: a database, tools, research articles and a registry.
Along with a catalogue of standards and clinical practice guidelines in cancer control, the database will include indicators, benchmark documents, systematic reviews, health technology assessments and research articles. The database will offer clinicians, health-care administrators, researchers, policy-makers, guideline developers and the general public access to the wealth of evidence currently available in cancer control.
The Capacity Enhancement Program of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer based at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., maintains the inventory of cancer guidelines for the Cancer Guidelines Action Group. The quality of guidelines in the database is rated using the AGREE II scoring system. The higher the scores in all of the AGREE domains, the greater confidence users can have that the guideline was developed in a systematic and rigorous manner.
For the cancer community, in Canada and worldwide, the SAGE repository will identify what standards and guidelines exist and reveal what areas of cancer control still require such documents or need a higher quality of evidence.
The initial content focuses largely on guidelines but a limited number of standards will also be available and the inventory will grow over time.
The tools section of SAGE houses a wide array of resources that people can use to help them develop, adapt, implement and appraise standards and guidelines. For example, tools from ADAPTE to help steer the adaptation of existing guidelines.
This section of the repository will pull together the latest and most relevant research related to guidelines and standards.
The registry allows standards and guideline developers to inform the cancer community about projects they are planning or currently working on. Furthermore, developers can confirm whether another group is already engaged in developing a standard or guideline in a particular area. As well as providing information, the registry encourages collaboration and adaptation, thus reducing unnecessary duplication.
When people register their ideas, developers can check to see what projects are underway. That way, a group in one part of the country planning to develop a particular guideline will be made aware if a group elsewhere is working on or planning to do something similar. They could connect and explore possible collaboration. They could pool their resources, work on different aspects of the guideline or adapt the guideline for their own jurisdiction.
SAGE’s online repository of information and tools, along with the registry, offers an invaluable resource to clinicians, researchers, developers and governments. The general public can also use the information on the site to better understand the development of standards and guidelines and can search the database for evidence-based recommendations related to their situation.
Clinical practice guidelines and standards help guide the delivery of high-quality patient care. SAGE promotes the use of evidence for improved cancer control and facilitates the development and adaptation of Canadian guidelines, standards, indicators and benchmarks. Acceptance and implementation of quality guidelines and standards results in continuous improvement of cancer control services.