Panellist Consistency in the Assessment of Medical Appropriateness
Published in: Health Policy, v. 37, no. 3, Sep. 1996, p. 139-152
Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1995
Where information about the appropriateness of a surgical procedure is lacking, expert panels have been used to establish guidelines for medical practitioners. Such a panel was convened to assess the appropriateness of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty and coronary artery bypass graft surgery in the Netherlands. The panel, consisting of interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons, used a modified Delphi process to rate two rounds of 1,126 clinical indications. This article describes the degree of change in both agreement among members and the appropriateness ratings over the two rounds, and examines the internal consistency of the ratings of individual panelists. Over the two rounds, agreement increased. Although most appropriateness ratings remained unchanged, there was significant movement from equivocal to determinate ratings. While individual members showed a small degree of inconsistency in their scoring, the panel as a whole scored very consistently. The observed changes in appropriateness were consistent with what the authors expected, showing that the appropriateness method is used logically and consistently by panelists.