Key messages

• Standards, policies, and practice parameters define expectations for clinical practice, create consistency in the method of delivery, and promote continuity of care.

• Policies describe conditions that must exist to facilitate exemplary patient care, and they represent non-negotiable requirements.

• Practice parameters (practice guidelines, clinical protocols, algorithms, practice standards) assist care providers in the definition of an appropriate path for the management of a specific clinical problem.

• Policies and practice parameters, if utilized as intended, are ideal strategies for reducing unnecessary expenditure and may provide a defense in court.

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