The increasingly frequent demands for standards of quality of care have prompted a variety of systems for classifying the acceptability of various clinical methods for particular health problems. However, these systems have employed terms which characterize clinical methods along multiple, frequently orthogonal dimensions; unfortunately, the distinctiveness of these dimensions is often obscured. To aid in evaluating these terms and evaluations, three types of judgements are identified: basic science rationales, judgements of the breadth of clinical use, and the experimental status of particular clinical intervention strategies. Each type or classification of evaluation is sub-divided into two or more descriptors. Several examples of the application and limitations of these classification schemes are provided.
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