This study uses recent theoretical work about group decision-making to assess the quality of decision-making by expert consensus panels. We specifically examine (1) when individual members of panels will divulge their private judgments about the decision to the panel, and (2) when the group judgment is superior to the judgment of individual panelists and will lead to better treatment for patients. We conclude that to maximize the chance of an accurate decision, panels should be made as large as possible, adopt the smallest supermajority rule, and attract members with the highest individual competencies. Furthermore, interdependence among panelists and the goal of reaching consensus can reduce the efficacy of these panels.
Copyright 2004 Elsevier B.V.