Consumer involvement in topic and outcome selection


Consumer involvement in topic and outcome selection in the development of clinical practice guidelines
A. Tong, P. Lopez-Vargas, M. Howell, R. Phoon, D. Johnson, D. Campbell, R. G. Walker and J. C. Craig. Health Expectations (2012). 15: 410-423.
[PubMed abstract]


Consumer involvement in guideline development is advocated, but minimal participation, such as a nominated consumer representative on a guideline working group, can inhibit their decision-making power and contribution. Little is known about how to involve consumers more effectively in guideline development.

The objective of this study was:

  • to assess the effectiveness of a targeted approach for involving consumers actively in guideline development, by focusing on topic and outcome selection
  • to discuss the impact on content and structure of the final guideline.

Patients and carers (n = 24) from a tertiary hospital in Sydney attended three structured peer-facilitated workshops to complete group-based exercises on topic and outcome selection for guidelines for early stage chronic kidney disease. These workshops were run in parallel with the guideline-writing group. For each exercise, participants formed small groups and facilitated their own discussion, recorded their responses and presented them to the wider group. The topics and outcomes identified were fed back to the guideline writers.

The participants actively engaged in the workshop discussions and articulated topics and outcomes they perceived should be included in clinical guidelines. Four main changes to guideline-related outputs were observed. A new guideline subtopic was introduced, guidelines were consumer-endorsed, guideline recommendations and suggestions for clinical care were augmented with consumer-focused issues, and plain English guidelines were developed. The study concluded that consumer workshops in parallel and feeding into guideline development can be a feasible and effective approach for active consumer contribution. This process can inform the development of both consumer-focused guidelines for clinicians and specific versions for consumers.