The Guidelines Challenge: A CauseHealth Event

Save the Date! October 3-4, 2017, Oxford, England

Keynote Speakers:
Brian Broom
Nancy Cartwright
Trish Greenhalgh
Mike Kelly

CauseHealth takes on the challenges related to causal complexity, individual variations and external validity in health sciences. Guidelines, for various reasons, are often used more rigidly in clinical settings than the developers intended. But one size does not fit all. Evidence from the patient context can be more causally relevant in deciding treatment than what has been shown to work at the group level.

This conference brings together practitioners, guidelines networks and philosophers of science to address the general problem of how to put the tools of philosophy to use in improving the development and implementation of healthcare guidelines.

In particular, how do we reconcile the purpose of guidelines with the needs of the clinic? There is a growing movement towards the particular (e.g. person centred approaches, individualised treatments, incorporating patient narratives and clinical judgement), while guidelines must be general (e.g. providing evidence-based advice and methods for clinical decision-making).

Further relevant questions are:

  • How do we incorporate more types of causally relevant information in guidelines?
  • What would genuinely whole-ist guidelines look like?
  • How can guidelines accommodate the challenges of complex illness, multi-morbidity and medically unexplained symptoms?
  • How should guidelines move beyond positivist scientific ideals such as truth, certainty and objectivity (i.e. universal, value- and bias-free)?

Watch this space for updates as we confirm our speakers list, program, and registration information!



Image By Niki Odolphie from Frome, England (Longleat Maze) [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons