The Real Time Delphi method, which implements the functionality of the Internet to make the Delphi Method more flexible, efficient and transparent, has been used by the Agency for Health Quality and Assessment of Catalonia (AQuAS as per the Catalan synonym) to identify the indicators for evaluating chronicity care and for the management of the areas of improvement in this field.
¿What is the Delphi method? It is a structured communication technique which is based on a panel of experts who answers questionnaires in two or more rounds. After each round, a facilitator provides a summary of what the experts have said in the previous round. Successive rounds are intended to reach a consensus on the subject. The Delphi method is applied to make predictions about the future and, in general, for any issue when a scientific approach is not possible. When the Delphi method is online (Real Time Delphi) the responses of the participants are calculated automatically and many variants of the method can be entered in a controlled way.
The Health Consensus application that facilitates the participation of professionals through a methodology of online consensus developed by the company Onsanity from research done at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in Barcelona was used to identify the most appropriate indicators.
The work was carried out in the years 2013-2014, the first prototype of the system was applied twice, first in Catalonia, and a second version in the context of all the Spanish health system. The Health Consensus application for the selection of indicators allowed for the collecting of contributions from more than 800 health professionals, including clinical profiles of management and planning. An initial list of 215 indicators was progressively reduced through successive rounds of consensus until it was reduced to 18.
Not only did this experience allow the the identification of indicators, but it also showed various aspects that are interesting for research and innovation:
- It is possible to pool the tacit knowledge of a fairly large group of professionals, putting together experiences and different points of view.
- The professionals underscore their perception that the contributions that are made, are highly valuable in the construction of the model subjected to consensus.
- The online system is accepted by the professionals who expressed a high satisfaction level during the participation process.
Post written by Josep Mª Monguet (@JM_Monguet), UPC Professor.