Consensus Development Conferences
How do you engage citizens, decision-makers and experts in an appropriate way to address complex health issues?
One approach is the Consensus Development Conference
The Consensus Development Conference approach has been used effectively in Alberta by the Institute of Health Economics. The program is modelled on the National Institute of Health (NIH) Consensus Development program in the United States and is an approach used in may other countries. The best way to describe it is - it's a "jury trial" on health policy or scientific issues.
Approach to Conducting the Event
The conferences usually involve 15 or more experts who deliver the scientific evidence and testimony around 5-8 specific questions on a particular health subject. They deliver this evidence to a jury of 12-15 people over two days in front of an audience of 300+ people. The consensus format provides an independent look at issues from an unbiased panel. The jury takes this all into consideration during a "sequestered" period overnight after the two days of hearings and renders its recommendations in a consensus statement. That statement is read by the jury chair for the experts and the audience on the morning of the third day, and then widely disseminated across the Canadian health-care system.
Evidence-based Policy Development
The consensus statement is based on publicly available data and information. It is not intended as a legal document, practice guideline, or primary source of detailed technical information. Rather, the statement reflects the views of a panel of thoughtful people who come to understand the issue before them and who carefully examine and discuss the data available on the issue.
Topics should include issues that affect a significant number of people and there should be some feasible interventions to address the problem or issue. Controversial or unresolved issues should be chosen where the process can help clarify, or a gap between current knowledge and current practice may be narrowed. The topic should have an adequately defined and available base of scientific information from which to answer the conference questions and resolve controversies. The conference topic and resulting recommendations should have an impact on health care costs and quality and there should be a high degree of public interest.
The percentage of people attending the Institute of Health Economics' first Consensus Development Conference that rated it excellent or good - 100%
" As Jury Chair, I experienced first-hand, the high level of commitment the Institute of Health Economics has to knowledge transfer. After the event, the subsequent demand for dissemination of our consensus statement shows the value of this highly-effective knowledge transfer tool." ~ Michael Decter, Jury Chair, Consensus Development Conference on Self-Monitoring in Diabetes
"The Consensus Development Program is an exciting way to engage decision makers, experts and most importantly - citizens - in addressing important health care issues. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is delighted to participate with IHE in exploring Depression in Adults- a vital subject that affects all of us." ~ Senator Michael Kirby, Chair, Mental Health Commission of Canada
Past conference links:
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder - Link: http://www.ihe.ca/research/knowledge-transfer-initiatives/--consensus-development-conference-program/fasd-1/
Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies: How to Prevent Low Birth Weight - Link: http://www.ihe.ca/research/knowledge-transfer-initiatives/--consensus-development-conference-program/low-birth-weight/
Self Monitoring in Diabetes - Link: http://www.ihe.ca/research/knowledge-transfer-initiatives/--consensus-development-conference-program/self-monitoring-in-diabetes/
Consensus Development Conference on Legal Issues of FASD - Conference website: http://www.fasdedmonton2013.ca/FASD-Legal/Default.aspx
Date: September 18-20, 2013
Consensus Development Conference on Antimicrobial-Resistant Organisms
Date: Spring 2014, (to be confirmed)
Consensus Development Conference on Mental Health Transitions (Facility & Community Care)
Date: Fall 2014, (to be confirmed)
For more information contact: Steve Buick, Director of Policy & Communications, 780-401-1769 or email firstname.lastname@example.org