The Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials (COMET) initiative is a globally recognized group of professionals that work towards developing and improving a standardized set of outcomes – called Core Outcome Sets (COS) – for healthcare research.

What is a Core Outcome Set (COS)?

A COS is an agreed-upon standardized set of outcomes that need to be measured and reported in the same way in all trials for a specific condition or topic. These outcomes are the minimum results that must be reported to ensure that the results of different studies can be compared, combined, and used in evidence-based decision-making.

Why are Core Outcome Sets important?

Clinical trials often measure many different outcomes, making it difficult to compare results across studies. Some outcomes may not even be important to patients, clinicians, or other stakeholders. COS allows for the consistency of outcome measurement and reporting across studies, ensuring that all the essential outcomes are captured and included, reducing research waste, and increasing the value of research.

In summary, COS plays a vital role in improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of healthcare research. Through the rigorous and collaborative development process of COS, all stakeholders, including patients, clinicians, and researchers, can agree on a common set of outcomes that are important, consistently measured, and reported across different trials.

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What is the Delphi consensus process?

In the context of healthcare research, the Delphi consensus process is a widely accepted methodology for gathering and analyzing expert opinions and achieving consensus on a particular topic. The Delphi method typically involves a group of experts working together in several rounds to achieve consensus on a particular topic or issue , such as developing a standardized set of Core Outcome Measures (COM) or criteria for a particular diagnosis.

The Delphi consensus process involves several rounds of anonymous feedback and discussion, with each round building on the insights and opinions gathered in the previous round. The experts are typically selected based on their knowledge, experience, and expertise in the relevant field, and are asked to answer a set of questions based on their perceptions, knowledge, and experiences, with the questions and responses being refined and reissued in subsequent rounds.

Through this iterative process of feedback, discussion, and refinement, the Delphi method aims to identify areas of disagreement, clarify perceptions, and achieve consensus on a particular topic or issue among the experts. The Delphi consensus process is widely used in healthcare research due to its ability to effectively gather and analyze expert opinions, achieve consensus, and develop evidence-based guidelines and recommendations.