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Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 2005 Jan;77(1):49-56.

Metadata-driven Delphi rating on the Internet.

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Center for Medical Informatics, Yale University School of Medicine, PO Box 208009, New Haven, CT 06520-8009, USA.


Paper-based data collection and analysis for consensus development is inefficient and error-prone. Computerized techniques that could improve efficiency, however, have been criticized as costly, inconvenient and difficult to use. We designed and implemented a metadata-driven Web-based Delphi rating and analysis tool, employing the flexible entity-attribute-value schema to create generic, reusable software. The software can be applied to various domains by altering the metadata; the programming code remains intact. This approach greatly reduces the marginal cost of re-using the software. We implemented our software to prepare for the Conference on Guidelines Standardization. Twenty-three invited experts completed the first round of the Delphi rating on the Web. For each participant, the software generated individualized reports that described the median rating and the disagreement index (calculated from the Interpercentile Range Adjusted for Symmetry) as defined by the RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method. We evaluated the software with a satisfaction survey using a five-level Likert scale. The panelists felt that Web data entry was convenient (median 4, interquartile range [IQR] 4.0-5.0), acceptable (median 4.5, IQR 4.0-5.0) and easily accessible (median 5, IQR 4.0-5.0). We conclude that Web-based Delphi rating for consensus development is a convenient and acceptable alternative to the traditional paper-based method.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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