The Delphi Method: Optimising the Outputs

Posted: 2nd May 2023
Categories: Delphi Method

How Delphi Method Outputs Can Be Developed

The Delphi method is a robust and credible method to generate evidence to get better decisions actioned. This real-world evidence solution enlists advocacy by design as the expert panel (who currently work in the given field) align behind a common issue, problem, or opportunity and galvanises key, actionable messages (the study recommendations) to support new thinking and practices. It is important that these actionable messages are communicated to the right audience in a format that is likely to prompt action.

The primary output for any study using the Delphi method is a manuscript which is capable of peer-review publication. Once published, this will form part of the hierarchy of evidence at level 4. Outcomes of Delphi often complement, stimulate, or help complete the evidence base and this can be used to define/support new healthcare policy such as treatment guidelines or even to support health technology appraisals where there is a need to reduce uncertainties around existing data.

However, a Delphi study doesn’t end once the primary output has been delivered. It is only the first step of a broader campaign to get better decisions actioned.

Case study

Triducive worked with a client to design and facilitate a Delphi study with the objective to define the clinical patient cohort for a new antibiotic treatment in a conservative and cost-restrictive market. The outputs of this study provided a strong platform for the client to engage with policymakers concerning EU and national antibiotic stewardship.

Read Case study

In addition to healthcare, the Delphi method has often been used to define/support policy across a variety of industries including:

  • Government
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Agriculture

Deciding Where To Publish

It is important, where appropriate, to agree as early as possible on the target peer-reviewed journal to submit the manuscript output from a Delphi study. This will help reduce the time to publication as the output can be tailored to that journal’s guideline requirements from the outset. Having a clear publication plan can also help when organising subsequent communication activities. For example, is there a specific symposium that you want to present the information? This will therefore inform the deadlines required throughout the publication development phase of the project and any deliverable phases (for example if a symposium requires a separate abstract before the full manuscript can be published).

When selecting the target peer-reviewed journal it is advised to target a high-impact journal as this often provides a broader readership, thereby increasing the impact of the key messages from a project. However, if the journal readership is not part of your target audience, it is better to pursue publication in a journal that better represents the intended audience.

Campaigning The Output

Once a study using the Delphi method has been delivered and the primary output has been published, the evidence can be used as a reference for a variety of other communication materials, which can be tailored towards different audiences to drive the implementation of the key messages.


A versatile campaign material that can be used to succinctly communicate key messages from new evidence and used in a range of media.

Meeting materials

Symposia, roundtable, or educational meetings can be a great forum to present new data.

Video abstracts

Filming leading HCPs who have played a part in generating new data (through being members of the expert panel) provides a great multichannel opportunity for the target audience to hear the intent and outputs directly from them.


Concise, visual, and eye-catching summaries of the study are an excellent way to reach new audiences at professional meetings and conferences.


Short interviews with study authors and other contributors can provide a highly accessible way for your audience to reach and digest new thinking.

Key takeaways

  • A Delphi study doesn’t end once the primary output has been delivered, it is only the first step of a broader campaign to get better decisions actioned.
  • Delphi-derived data provides RWE and advocacy from working healthcare professionals within a given field.
  • Publishing the final Delphi method output to a credible journal will complement, stimulate, or help complete the evidence base and this can be used as a reference for other communication materials to drive the implementation of recommendations.

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