[This article was originally published in Healthcare Quarterly, Volume 9, Number 3.]

Expert panels have been widely used in healthcare as a way of bringing knowledgeable people together to examine issues and identify solutions in well-defined areas. Various terms have been used to describe these groups of experts such as "consensus panels," "blue ribbon panels" and "expert committees or panels." Regardless of the term used, panels of healthcare experts have a history of providing invaluable advice to policy- and decision-makers. The extent to which this advice results in tangible change depends on whether the advice influences both policy- and decision-makers, and practitioners.