Clinical practice guidelines abound in medicine. Head and neck oncology is no exception. Well-crafted guidelines can promote evidence-based diagnosis, treatment, and followup for patients with head and neck cancers. Recognizing this, the Education Committee of the American Head and Neck Society has developed a series of articles to review clinical practice guidelines germane to our field, the evidence behind them, and opportunities for improvement and better adherence to them. This paper serves to introduce the concepts relevant to guideline development and clinical application. It serves as a framework for the topical guideline papers that will follow.
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