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It is the objective of the EULAR executive committee to promote actions and/or projects aimed at improving the knowledge and/or the recognition of musculoskeletal disorders.
The chief aim is to contribute to the improvement of outcome of patients with rheumatic disorders. Apart from the projects devoted to education and research, projects aimed at facilitating the conduct of clinical studies or at improving the management of musculoskeletal disorders are welcome. Such studies can be categorised in four sections:
Studies dedicated to a proposal for classification and/or diagnostic criteria
Recommendations for designing and/or conducting clinical trials in specific musculoskeletal disorders
Recommendations for monitoring and/or management and/or treatment of specific musculoskeletal disorders
Standardisation of (laboratory and other) procedures.
I RATIONALE OF STANDARDISED OPERATING PROCEDURES
It is the objective of the EULAR executive committee to maintain and to homogenise a high level of intrinsic quality and comparability of such studies.
To achieve such an objective it appeared that the definition and publication of standardised procedures for the elaboration, evaluation, dissemination, and implementation of recommendations might be a relevant and useful starting point.
Obviously these standardised operating procedures should not be a barrier to acceptance of a project if not all points are satisfied but might be important to consider before starting a project.
These recommendations are not mandatory in themselves but can be used flexibly.
II METHODOLOGICAL AND PRACTICAL ASPECTS
At each step of such projects (application, elaboration, dissemination, etc), the individual items summarised in table 1 should be discussed. The reader is invited to visit the EULAR website (http://www.eular.org) to check the most recently updated version of these procedures.
A Which wording?
The three proposals are “points to consider”, “recommendations”, “guidelines”.
It is the opinion of the EULAR executive committee members that, on the one hand, “guidelines” might appear too constraining and that, on the other hand, “points to consider” might be considered as too open. Recommendations can …
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