Studying Consensus Methods in Integrated KT to Promote Patient-Oriented Research

Project Summary

Integrated knowledge translation (IKT) is a research approach that involves including stakeholders, including patients, as equal partners in research teams so that results of the study are more relevant and useful.

This approach often requires the use of consensus methods for us to understand decisions and priorities for service delivery, policy change, and research. “Consensus” is when a group of individuals come to an agreement and support a specific outcome (in the best interest of the group) and work together to create solutions.

However, although these consensus methods have become more popular in helping identify the needs and priorities of communities, there is limited understanding about which is the best approach and few resources to guide teams in how to use them.


Our project sought to understand consensus methods better.

Project Findings

We reviewed academic articles on consensus methods and partnerships.

We found that there is a lack of information on consensus methods in research partnerships, such as on:

  • How consensus was reached
  • Different approaches to consensus
  • Issues of being included, inequity, and power imbalance.


There is a need to clearly define consensus, approaches to consensus, and partnerships for consensus.

We completed dialogues to better understand how patients and/or community members can be meaningfully included in research.

We found:

  1. The systems of research shape how people are included in research
  2. Standards for being accountable are not completely or easily accessed
  3. To be inclusive requires attention, intention, planning and supports
  4. Inclusion is based on relationship.

We used different consensus approaches, such as deliberative dialogue (face to face or virtual) and a Delphi survey in four health authorities in BC (Island Health, Northern Health, Fraser Health, and Interior Health), in four different areas of health care.

We learned that:

  • Different training is needed for patients, family members, and caregivers to use a virtual platform
  • Language is important for understanding
  • Different groups of patients have different needs.


In all cases, we have found that consensus on key actions and priorities for action were successful when patients, family members, and caregivers were included in consensus-building processes.

We are in the process of sharing our research findings.

This project is part of the Knowledge Translation and Implementation Science Cluster.


Dr. Nelly Oelke, PI ✉
Dr. Heather Gainforth, Co-PI ✉
Dr. Katrina Plamondon, Co-PI ✉
Dr. Davina Banner, Co-PI ✉
Dr. Kathryn Sibley, Co-I
Dr. Jennifer Baumbusch, Co-I
Ashmita Rai ✉
Dr. Miranda Cary
Alison Hoens
Ursula Wick
Kimberly Strain