International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care

General Essays

Physicians' Perceptions of Consensus Reports

Martha N. Hilla1 and Carol S. Weismana2

a1 Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

a2 Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health


In a pretest-posttest panel survey of 595 eligible Maryland physicians practicing family or general medicine, internal medicine, cardiology, or nephrology, perceptions of consensus reports designed to alter medical practice are examined. On a 7-point scale, physicians reported positive or neutral views of descriptors, most favorably rating credible (mean = 2.25) and reliable (mean = 2.41), and least favorably rating biased (mean = 3.79). In a regression analysis of factors influencing changes in practice behavior congruent with consensus recommendations before and 1 year after the release of a consensus report on hypertension (8), these perceptions were not significant determinants. The strongest predictor of congruent practice behavior a year after the report was published was congruent practice behavior just prior to the report's release, and the second strongest predictor was perceived influence of the report's sources/sponsors.