Purpose: A formal decision-making and consensus process was applied to develop the first version of the International Classification on Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) Core Sets for Hand Conditions.
Method: To convene an international panel to develop the ICF Core Sets for Hand Conditions (HC), preparatory studies were conducted, which included an expert survey, a systematic literature review, a qualitative study and an empirical data collection process involving persons with hand conditions. A consensus conference was convened in Switzerland in May 2009 that was attended by 23 healthcare professionals, who treat hand conditions, representing 22 countries.
Results: The preparatory studies identified a set of 743 ICF categories at the second, third or fourth hierarchical level. Altogether, 117 chapter-, second-, or third-level categories were included in the comprehensive ICF Core Set for HC. The brief ICF Core Set for HC included a total of 23 chapter- and second-level categories.
Conclusions: A formal consensus process integrating evidence and expert opinion based on the ICF led to the formal adoption of the ICF Core Sets for Hand Conditions. The next phase of this ICF project is to conduct a formal validation process to establish its applicability in clinical settings.