Consensus standards for the process of cancer care: A modified expert panel method applied to head and neck cancer

M. A. Birchall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


There are many pressures to improve the standard of care delivered to cancer patients, including the reforms subsequent to the Calman-Hine report. The establishment of standards is a prerequisite for audit, benchmarking and certification of cancer centres and units. Randomized trials of head and neck cancer are uncommon, and other forms of evidence often conflicting. In the south and west of England, a multidisciplinary expert panel consensus method has been applied to the development of standards. A panel representative of specialties involved in the process of care at all three levels, plus social medicine and lay members, was constructed. A model for the process of care was developed consisting of activity areas. For each activity, a near exhaustive list of tasks and standards was established. A three-iteration method with statistical group response was then used to refine the standards. The same method was also applied to the production of a minimum data set for registration, recording and audit. The resulting standards will be regularly reviewed. We have developed a model of the care process, and an expert panel methodology that is applicable to a wide range of problems in clinical oncology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1926-1931
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1998
Externally publishedYes



  • Consensus method
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Process
  • Standards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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