Liaising with clinical experts

Expert interviews can be used to explore potential drivers of effectiveness. They may be used to:

  • complement a literature review by identifying drivers of effectiveness not retrieved by the review and/or supplement the literature review results with clinical experience (i.e. explore the clinical relevance of a potential driver of effectiveness or restrict the number of drivers of effectiveness to be tested in analyses)
  • replace the literature review when data analyses are planned, in order to generate hypotheses that can be validated during data analyses.

How best to conduct the expert interviews?

  • Chose clinicians with experience in treating the disease and, whenever possible, those with a ‘population-approach’ (for example, epidemiologists). This is important because their clinical opinion should take into account the population perspective.
  • Interview several clinicians separately to gain a variety of perspectives.
  • Use a structured interview to follow the same flow of questions.
  • Send a briefing package to the experts in advance including a summary of the background information and the objectives of the interviews.
  • Consider in advance how to deal with inconsistent results.

What are the limitations?

  • Experts interviews are considered a weak form of evidence: this is because they are subject to opinion bias and subjectivity. Therefore, they should not be considered as the sole source of information, and should always be combined with literature reviews or data analyses.

GetReal case studies using expert interviews to identify drivers of effectiveness

Key contributor

Clementine Nordon, LASER