Health Technology Assessment

Alberta Ambassador Guideline Adaptation Program

Ambassador Guideline Adaptation and Development Program

Promoting the use of evidence to encourage and support best practice in pain management

The Ambassador Guideline Adaptation and Development Program started in 2004 as a knowledge translation strategy for promoting the use of current research evidence to encourage and support best practice in pain management across Alberta. The Program built on established relationships among researchers from the Health Technology Assessment Unit, senior clinicians from the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta, and senior government officials from Alberta Health and eventually grew to involve other partners such as Alberta Health Services, medical associations and colleges, research funding bodies and institutes, and a patient advocacy group.

From a modest start, the Program’s scope was expanded in 2006 to include development of evidence-based, Alberta-specific clinical practice guidelines for the management of two conditions—low back pain (3 editions) and headache (2 editions). The clinical practice guidelines on the Evidence-Informed Primary Care Management of Low Back Pain and Primary Care Management of Headache in Adults, along with their companion documents for clinicians and patients, were produced in collaboration with two province-wide, multidisciplinary teams of Alberta professionals, Toward Optimized Practice, and Alberta Health, and have been continuously updated since their initial publication. They have been listed in the Canadian Medical Association Infobase and the United States National Guideline Clearinghouse, and are consistently one of the 10 most downloaded guidelines on the Toward Optimized Practice website. The processes, methods, and research advancements resulting from the Ambassador Program have been featured in 11 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and have been presented at major provincial, national, and international conferences.

The expertise developed by the Program over the last decade in adapting and developing guidelines on pain management has been utilized by the Prairie Collaborative Immune Globulin Utilization Management Framework project—a trilateral agreement between the Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan ministries of health, to create the Criteria for the Clinical Use of Immune Globulin, (first edition). The project involved an Inter-Provincial Medical Expert Committee in the development of the evidence-based criteria and recommendations for immune globulin use.

The Program is committed to developing methodologically rigorous, clinically relevant guidelines in collaboration with clinicians, policy makers, and patients that provide a platform for inter-professional collaboration, integration of healthcare services, and delivery of uniform, cost-effective, and evidence-based care.


For more information or if you have any questions about the Ambassador Program, please email [email protected]