The ERA-EDTA Council has nominated an advisory board to discuss and define the future of European nephrology recommendations and guidance. The 21 members of this board met for the first time in January 2008, in Paris. Due to a substantial change in philosophy (see Zoccali C. et al: European Best Practice Quo Vadis? From European Best Practice Guidelines to European Renal Best Practice), it was decided to change the name of the initiative from European Best Practice Guidelines (EBPG) to European Renal Best Practice (ERBP).
The prime mission of ERBP is to improve the outcome of patients with kidney disease, and this in a sustainable way through enhancing the availability of the knowledge on the management of these patients in a format that stimulates its use in clinical practice in Europe
To obtain these goals of the mission, ERBP will have to work in different fields.
We will need to explore, understand, and evaluate the needs of our most important stakeholders: the patients, their next of kin, and the healthcare workers taking care of them.
We will also have to map our gaps in knowledge in relation to these needs. These gaps can be real gaps or “phantom gaps”. If it is a real gap, we will have to stimulate research to help us solve the question, and thereto, we will have to formulate appropriate questions, that, hopefully will be picked up by the community in their research projects. If it is a phantom gap, meaning that the evidence is available, but not used, we will have to help in disseminating the already existing knowledge.
We will have to compile available evidence in a scientifically rigorous way, unbiased, but most of all: transparent. ERBP believes that this transparency should be one of the major values of what we do.
We will produce on a regular basis guidance statements, either based on evidence, if available, but also based on rational arguments, if there is insufficient hard evidence to underpin them. In any case, we will make “transparent” how the underlying process was, and what exactly has caused us to formulate the guidance as it is.
We also believe that guidance can help nephrologists to respond to the needs of the patient in a sustainable way: avoiding expensive but ineffective strategies, will create room, man power and financial means to support strategies that do work.
We will have to disseminate this guidance, not only amongst nephrologists, but also to nurses ànd patients. It is our strong conviction that we have to inform the patient, based on available evidence, so that he/she can make a decision in conjunction with his/her treating healthcare worker; patient empowerment is one of the mainstays of good healthcare. Thereto, we will transform our guidance to patient education flyers. These flyers can be used as a template for transplation to local patient information flyers in your own language.
We will also on a regular basis organize Continuous Medical Education on guidance and evidence based medicine, not only during the annual ERA-EDTA conference, but also during meetings of national societies.
Finally, we will have to evaluate if, and to what extent, outcomes improve by implementation of our guidance. It has to be clear however that our guidance cannot be used as or be transformed to clinical performance measures based on surrogate outcomes. The only acceptable outcome to measure the impact of a good guidance statement is an improvement in mortality, comorbidity and patient quality of life.
ERBP is the guidance producing body of ERA-EDTA. However, we need to be far more than an institution where experts tell what other people should do. ERBP should be a melting pot where visions on and experience with healthcare from different regions and generations can come together to distil solutions that improve outcomes of patients with kidney disease. Therefore, we will also need your help and input. Those interested should take a look at the “instructions for authors ” link at right side of the screen. The fellows of our ERBP Methods support Team will be happy to support you in a project on evidence gathering and guidance.