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Designing a Strategy Trial for the Management of Gout: the use of a Modified Delphi Panel


ACR Open Rheumatol. 2021 May 1. doi: 10.1002/acr2.11243. Online ahead of print.

Daniel H Solomon 1Joel S Weissman 1Hyon Choi 2Steven J Atlas 2Cesar Berardinelli 3Julien Dedier 4Michael A Fischer 1John Fitzgerald 5Erica Hinteregger 1Brianne Johnsen 2Diana D Marini 3Robert McLean 6Fred Murray 3Tuhina Neogi 4Lynn B Oertel 2Michael H Pillinger 7Kevin R Riggs 8Ken Saag 8Dong Suh 1James Watkins 3Michael J Barry 2

Author Information

1 Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

2 Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

3 Boston, Massachusetts.

4 Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

5 University of California, Los Angeles.

6 Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.

7 New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, New York.

8 University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.


Objective: Disagreement exists between rheumatology and primary care societies regarding gout management. This paper describes a formal process for gathering input from stakeholders in the planning of a trial to compare gout management strategies.

Methods: We recruited patients, nurses, physician assistants, primary care clinicians, and rheumatologists to participate in a modified Delphi panel (mDP) to provide input on design of a trial focused on optimal management for primary care patients with gout. The 16 panelists received a plain-language briefing document that discussed the rationale for the trial, key clinical issues in gout, and aspects of trial design. The panelists also received information and considerations on nine voting questions (VQs), judged to be the key design questions. Cognitive interviews with panelists ensured that the VQs were understood by the range of panelists involved in the mDP. Panelists were asked to score all VQs from 1 (definitely no) to 9 (definitely yes). Two voting rounds were conducted-round 1 by email and round 2 by video conference.

Results: The VQs were modified through the cognitive interviews. The round 1 voting resulted in consensus on eight items, with consensus defined as median voting score in the same tercile (1-3, 4-6 or 7-9). Re-voting at the meeting (round 2) reached consensus on the remaining item.

Conclusion: An mDP with various stakeholders facilitated consensus on the design of a trial of different management strategies for chronic gout. This method may be useful for designing trials of clinical questions with substantial disagreement across stakeholders.