The two main approaches to preparing clinical guidelines for use in CDS are to use simple markup (also referred to as "semantic tagging"), and to use a standard guideline representation language.

Simple guideline markup involves annotating free-text clinical guidelines using terminology codes that represent its meaning. This enables relevant guidelines to be retrieved based on specific codes recorded in a patient's health record. For more information on this approach, please refer to 3.2.1. Guidelines with SNOMED CT.

An alternative approach is to use a standard guideline representation languages to formally define each guideline. Some examples of standard guideline representation languages, such as the Guideline Definition Language (GDL) and the Guideline Interchange Format (GLIF) are presented in the section 3.2.2. Standards for CDS Guidelines.