Improving patient screening processes in a virtual Delphi panel
A medical affairs team wanted to gather input from European cardiologists to define the screening process for a suspected case of a particular rare disease. Objectives included:
- Understand current screening practices
- Identify and define which screening results warrant referral and further investigation for the rare disease
- Reach agreement on an approved patient pathway that will improve early detection, diagnosis, management, and treatment of patients
To get consensus from the cardiologists, the team elected to use the Delphi method, a process in which experts respond to several rounds of questions, and the responses are aggregated and shared with the group following each round.
The team conducted the Delphi panel on the Within3 insights management platform. Training on how to use the platform was provided via live web meetings, and the physician advisors could also view a pre-recorded orientation video at their convenience. The Delphi panel was conducted in three over-time sessions – the first covered current practices, the second asked the doctors to rate the importance of various screening parameters based on previous answers, and the third consisted of reviewing the previous sessions and requesting additional input. The advisors logged into the sessions on their own schedule to view resource documents and answer questions.
During the sessions, the team used a mix of question types – including open-ended, multiple-choice, and ranking – to obtain qualitative and quantitative feedback. In the third session, the cardiologists also used Within3’s document annotation feature to comment and make suggestions on a draft patient pathway that resulted from insights gathered in the first two sessions. Questions in the Delphi panel included How are patients normally referred to your service? and What family history would you see as an important factor in suspecting this condition?
The team achieved its objectives for the Delphi panel and developed the patient pathway to enable earlier diagnosis of the condition for improved patient outcomes. All three sessions were completed in just less than one month.