Words Without Action? The Production, Dissemination, and Impact of Consensus Recommendations

Words Without Action? The Production, Dissemination, and Impact of Consensus Recommendations The above quote from Israeli statesman Abba Eban voices a general concern about the increasing use of consensus processes as an imprimatur for certain practice patterns in medicine. Some critics fear that the implications of the consensus process will discourage physician autonomy or innovation. They point to the need to "protect the individual choices of each physician from the potential tyrannical domination of consensus and allow the process of de­ velopment of new knowledge to continue" (6 1, p. 1077). Other critics claim that the methods used may overinterpret the available data and lead to conclusions based on "faith or zeal or alarm" (2, p. 1086). Finally, there are critics who, if correct, can assuage these fears, because they do not believe that consensus processes effect behavior change at all, but rather provide "primarily a dialogue among researchers . . not a guide to action" (34, p. 2740). 0 163-7525/9 1/0501-0041$02.00 LOMAS Nevertheless, consensus processes as a means of information transfer are here to stay and will become even more popular. A recent Directory on Technology Assessment listed nearly 60 organizations in the United States with fonnal programs that are establishing hundreds of recommendations for practice.Nearly all of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Annual Review of Public Health Annual Reviews

Words Without Action? The Production, Dissemination, and Impact of Consensus Recommendations

Annual Review of Public Health, Volume 12 (1) – May 1, 1991

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Publisher
Annual Reviews
Copyright
Copyright 1991 Annual Reviews. All rights reserved
Subject
Review Articles
ISSN
0163-7525
eISSN
1545-2093
D.O.I.
10.1146/annurev.pu.12.050191.000353
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The above quote from Israeli statesman Abba Eban voices a general concern about the increasing use of consensus processes as an imprimatur for certain practice patterns in medicine. Some critics fear that the implications of the consensus process will discourage physician autonomy or innovation. They point to the need to "protect the individual choices of each physician from the potential tyrannical domination of consensus and allow the process of de­ velopment of new knowledge to continue" (6 1, p. 1077). Other critics claim that the methods used may overinterpret the available data and lead to conclusions based on "faith or zeal or alarm" (2, p. 1086). Finally, there are critics who, if correct, can assuage these fears, because they do not believe that consensus processes effect behavior change at all, but rather provide "primarily a dialogue among researchers . . not a guide to action" (34, p. 2740). 0 163-7525/9 1/0501-0041$02.00 LOMAS Nevertheless, consensus processes as a means of information transfer are here to stay and will become even more popular. A recent Directory on Technology Assessment listed nearly 60 organizations in the United States with fonnal programs that are establishing hundreds of recommendations for practice.Nearly all of

Journal

Annual Review of Public HealthAnnual Reviews

Published: May 1, 1991

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