Treatment of Eight NIH Consensus Development Conferences in the Biomedical Literature

by Grace M. Carter, Geoffrey M. Anderson, David E. Kanouse, John D. Winkler


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This Note examines the treatment of eight consensus development conferences, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in the medical literature during a period of three or four years following each conference. It describes areas of publicly expressed agreement and disagreement with the conference recommendations and identifies other papers that may have influenced physicians concurrently with the conference. It also reports on the extent of coverage of each conference in the professional literature, the frequency and types of citations to conference findings, and the influence of conference findings and recommendations on later scientific and professional reports. The eight consensus development conferences were on the topics of antenatal diagnosis, primary treatment of breast cancer, steroid receptors, estrogen use for postmenopausal symptoms, thrombolytic therapy, Pap smear, caesarean birth, and coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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