Table 1.

Interpretation of strong and conditional recommendations.

Implications for:Strong RecommendationConditional Recommendation
PatientsMost individuals in this situation would want the recommended course of action, and only a small proportion would not.The majority of individuals in this situation would want the suggested course of action, but many would not. Decision aids may be useful in helping patients to make decisions consistent with their individual risks, values, and preferences.
CliniciansMost individuals should follow the recommended course of action. Formal decision aids are not likely to be needed to help individual patients make decisions consistent with their values and preferences.Recognize that different choices will be appropriate for individual patients and that you must help each patient arrive at a management decision consistent with his or her values and preferences. Decision aids may be useful in helping individuals to make decisions consistent with their individual risks, values, and preferences.
Policy makersThe recommendation can be adopted as policy in most situations. Adherence to this recommendation according to the guideline could be used as a quality criterion or performance indicator.Policymaking will require substantial debate and involvement of various stakeholders. Performance measures should assess if decision making is appropriate.
ResearchersThe recommendation is supported by credible research or other convincing judgments that make additional research unlikely to alter the recommendation. On occasion, a strong recommendation is based on low or very low certainty of the evidence. In such instances, further research may provide important information that alters the recommendations.The recommendation is likely to be strengthened (for future updates or adaptation) by additional research. An evaluation of the conditions and criteria (and the related judgments, research evidence, and additional considerations) that determined the conditional (rather than strong) recommendation will help identify possible research gaps.