Methods Used to Generate Consensus Statements for Clinical Practice Guidelines: A Primer for the Spine Surgeon

Jeremy C. Thompson, Zachariah W. Pinter, Rachel Honig, Marko N. Tomov, Bradford L. Currier, Benjamin D. Elder, Brett A. Freedman, Mohamad Bydon, Arjun S. Sebastian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Design: This was a research methodology study. Objective: This review discusses the most commonly utilized consensus group methodologies for formulating clinical practice guidelines and current methods for accessing rigorous up-to-date clinical practice guidelines. Summary of Background Data: In recent years, clinical practice guidelines for the management of several conditions of the spine have emerged to provide clinicians with evidence-based best-practices. Many of these guidelines are used routinely by administrators, payers, and providers to determine the high-quality and cost-effective surgical practices. Most of these guidelines are formulated by consensus groups, which employ methodologies that are unfamiliar to most clinicians. Methods: An extensive literature review was performed. The literature was then summarized in accordance with the authors' clinical experience. Results: The Nominal Group Technique, Delphi method, and RAND-UCLA Appropriateness Model are 3 commonly utilized consensus group methodologies employed in the creation of clinical practice guidelines. Each of these methodologies has inherent advantages and disadvantages, is dependent on rigorously performed systematic reviews and meta-analyses to inform the panel of experts, and can be used to answer challenging clinical questions that remain unanswered due to a paucity of class I evidence. Conclusions: This review highlights the most commonly utilized consensus group methodologies and informs spine surgeons regarding options to access current clinical practice guidelines. Level of Evidence: Level V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-394
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Spine Surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • Delphi method
  • Nominal Group Technique
  • RAND-UCLA Appropriateness Model
  • clinical practice guidelines
  • consensus group
  • spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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