The first step for the Project was to decide what oral health services for people with disabilities should aim to achieve as there is little consensus on what these should be. Therefore the SMILE team gained consensus by using a Delphi Panel:
A Delphi panel is a group of experts who have a view to share on a specific topic. This sharing leads to consensus through a number of structured rounds of a research process. In this case, experts were either service users, providers or advocates as all are seen to have expert views on dental services based on their own perspectives. We also encouraged service managers and policy makers to become involved in this process.
Three online rounds involving over sixty experts took place, generating 69 items describing what dental services should be like.
These 69 items were considered by experts at a final Consensus Conference and a final list of 16 consensus statements were agreed.