Introduction The implementations of a structured consensus process can facilitate agreement among experts on varied and inconsistent clinical and educational practices. Recommendations exist for use of the Delphi consensus process in health care research. Most Delphi studies in orthotics and prosthetics research occurred after these recommendations were published, and it is unclear how closely these recommendations have been followed when applying this method. The aim of this review is to summarize the characteristics of Delphi processes in orthotics and prosthetics in order to guide future research. Materials and Methods A review was undertaken of published reports of Delphi processes used to research some aspect of the orthotics and prosthetics profession. Research methods were evaluated to identify and characterize features of the application of the Delphi process. These features were compared with the recommendations for Delphi processes in health care research. Results The application of the Delphi method in the 19 reviewed studies varied significantly in regards to topic, qualifications and number of experts, survey item creation, number of rounds, consensus requirements, outcomes, inclusion of a final conference, dropout rate, and final output. Although some studies closely followed the recommendations for the use of the Delphi method in health care, others deviated greatly. Conclusions Although the Delphi method is a common consensus process used in orthotics and prosthetics research, study methods vary and do not always follow recommended guidelines. Guidelines for future Delphi processes in orthotics and prosthetics research can be developed based on the data collected in this review. It is likely that there will be an increase in the number of Delphi studies conducted in this field in the future. Understanding the way this method has been implemented in previous studies can inform the design of future studies and may result in a more consistent application of this valuable research method.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine