The beginnings

Therapeutic Guidelines have evolved out of activities dating back to January 1978 when a group of enthusiastic individuals came together to develop Antibiotic Guidelines in response to the worrying and emerging problem of antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic Guidelines, a set of helpful and practical guidelines on appropriate and cost-effective antibiotic therapy, was a milestone in 1978. It had many virtues. Most importantly, it assisted in clinical decision-making and teaching, but it also became a standard against which prescribing of antibiotics in hospitals could be measured. It had just 31 pages, dealt with 59 indications and recommended use of 31 antibiotics. Specifically designed to fit into a doctor’s white coat pocket, 1000 copies were printed and distributed free of charge to all resident medical staff in Victoria’s public hospitals.

By 1994, other major therapeutic areas were covered in five additional guideline publications: Analgesic (1988), Psychotropic (1989), Cardiovascular (1991), Gastrointestinal (1994), and Respiratory (1994).

Establishment of Therapeutic Guidelines Limited – the company

By 1996, with guideline activities maturing rapidly and fast becoming part of the medical culture, Therapeutic Guidelines Limited was established. Over the next 11 years, more titles were added to the series of Therapeutic Guidelines: Neurology (1997), Endocrinology (1997), Dermatology (1999), Palliative Care (2001), Rheumatology (2006) and Oral and Dental (2007).

Three additional titles were published over this period as well; Management Guidelines: Developmental Disability (1998), Understanding, Influencing and Evaluating Drug Use (2001), and Health Care and Notions of Risk (2004).

In response to the growing role of information technology in society, Therapeutic Guidelines allocated significant resources to the development of electronic versions of its texts. In 2002, all the Therapeutic Guidelines were integrated into a single product, eTG complete, which allows simultaneous searching across all content. In developing this electronic product, Therapeutic Guidelines researched many issues surrounding electronic publication, including format, and the design, structure, navigation and style of online information. Following on from this in 2005, all the eTG complete content was reworked for an offline product designed specifically for handheld devices, miniTG.

Demand for eTG complete and miniTG grew quickly and hospitals, libraries, training and health care providers were soon purchasing licences for eTG complete for intranets and networks; these groups comprise a large proportion of users today.

Continuing this growth, emergency medicine topics were added, greatly expanding the range of information. Many of these emergency medicine topics were published in the print title Toxicology & Wilderness (2008). Ulcer and Wound Management was published electronically and in print title in 2012. All of the topics and titles under went regular review and revision prior to new versions being published.

In October 2021, the decision was made to retire the eTG complete name and return to the heritage name: Therapeutic Guidelines.

The name eTG complete was introduced almost twenty years prior, to distinguish the digital guidelines from the books. As evidence evolves rapidly, books are being phased out. Digital access methods are preferred for safety, clarity and consistency. Accordingly, the eTG complete name is no longer required as Therapeutic Guidelines transitions to a digital-first, clinical resource publisher.

Therapeutic Guidelines – Interactive timeline

Click here to access Therapeutic Guidelines’ history timeline highlighting key events and milestones over four decades of guideline development.

Content development process

The process used to develop the Guidelines has been continuously been refined. Click here to see a detailed description of the production process.