Reliability of Panel-Based Guidelines for Colonoscopy

An International Comparison

Published in: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, v. 47, no. 2, Feb. 1998, p. 162-166

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1998

by Bernard Burnand, John Paul Vader, Florian Froehlich, Karine Dupriez, Tania Larequi-Lauber, Isabelle Pache, Robert W. Dubois, Robert H. Brook, Jean-Jacques Gonvers

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This study examined the reliability of explicit guidelines developed using the RAND-UCLA appropriateness method. The appropriateness of over 400 indications for colonoscopy was rated by two multispecialty expert panels (United States and Switzerland). A nine-point scale was used, which was consolidated into three categories of appropriateness: appropriate, uncertain, inappropriate. The distribution of appropriateness ratings between the two panels and the intrapanel and interpanel agreement for categories of appropriateness were calculated for all possible indications. Similar statistics were calculated for a series of 577 primary care patients referred for colonoscopy in Switzerland. Over 805 of all indications (348) could be directly compared. The proportions of indications classified as appropriate, uncertain, or inappropriate were 28.45, 24.7%, 46.6% and 33.0%, 23.0%, 44.0% for the U.S. and Swiss panels, respectively. Interpanel agreement was excellent for all the possible indications (kappa value: 0.75) and lower for actual cases (kappa value: 0.51) because of lower agreement for the most frequently encountered indications. Good agreement between the two sets of criteria was found, pointing to the reliability of the method. Partial disagreement occurred essentially for a few, albeit frequently encountered, indications for use of colonoscopy in cases of uncomplicated lower abdominal pain or constipation.

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