Medical guidelines and protocols are documents aimed at improving the quality of medical care by offering support in medical decision making in the form of management recommendations based on scientific evidence. Whereas medical guidelines are intended for nation-wide use, and thus omit medical management details that may differ among hospitals, medical protocols are aimed at local use, e.g., within hospitals, and, therefore, include more detailed information. Although a medical guideline and an associated protocol concerning the management of a particular disorder are related to each other, one question is to what extent they are different. Formal methods are applied to shed light on this issue. A Dutch medical guideline regarding the treatment of breast cancer, and a Dutch protocol based on it, are taken as an example.
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