Vicky Weber
Author: Vicky Weber | Date April 25, 2019

Leading Effective Protocol Consensus Meetings

We’ve all seen office cartoons, mugs, memes and desk decorations complaining about long, boring meetings that seem to go nowhere. Everyone dreads unproductive, inefficient and disorganized meetings, but with a little bit of advanced planning, your next protocol committee meeting can be the opposite: productive, efficient and organized.

The team at healthfinch has lead a lot of refill protocol consensus meetings and we’ve found the most successful meetings have a few things in common:

Prepare Before the Meeting

Preparation is key to a successful protocol consensus meeting. Set a clear agenda so everyone knows what will be discussed and can come to the meeting with ideas, suggestions and questions.

Assign a Facilitator

Designate a facilitator who will not be participating in the decision making to facilitate the meeting. This person will set the agenda, keep the discussion on track and document decisions made. They should distribute the agenda before the meeting, then track notes and action items after the meeting.

Draft Some Protocols

Discussing pre-existing protocols is much easier than trying to research and develop protocols during the consensus meeting. If you’re not already using protocols from a refill automation vendor like healthfinch or your own existing internal protocols, assign each committee member a group of protocols to create. Regardless of how your protocols are created, distribute them to your committee before the meeting with the agenda.

Stay on Track During the Meeting

It’s easy to let your meetings get sidetracked into unproductive conversation or discussion over patient cases that are more the exception than the rule. Focus on finding a consensus that meets 80% of the needs instead of spending all your time on clinical “edge cases.” Keep an eye on the agenda and larger questions before getting into the specifics.

Move General to Specific

Instead of starting with a specific aspect of a single protocol, move from general to specific. Review general classes of medications (such as beta blockers) or medications for different diseases (such as diabetes) before getting into the specifics of each medication.

Debate Pros and Cons

When you encounter areas of disagreement list out the pros and cons of each potential protocol choice, focusing on the evidence for each position. Remember that protocols can change — you may agree to do things one way now, then review it again later and update to new practice standards.

Follow Up After the Meeting

We all know the work isn’t over once the meeting ends. Use the end of your meeting to prepare for the next phase of the protocol implementation process.

Distribute Materials

The facilitator should send a summary after the meeting, including a list of protocol decisions and changes that were made. These should be kept in an easy to find place so the right people can reference them.

Communicate Next Steps

Don’t lose the momentum you had during your meeting! End the meeting by creating a clear list of next steps and action items. Your facilitator should include reminders of these next steps when distributing the meeting summary and again when preparing for any following meetings.


Preparation, keeping to the agenda and sharing the decisions made are the keys to running quality protocol committee meetings. Learn more about leading your refill protocol consensus process in our free eBook “Achieving Refill Protocol Consensus.”


Vicky Weber

Written By: Vicky Weber on April 25, 2019

As the Business Operations Analyst at healthfinch, Vicky's primary role is to help the sales and customer success teams grow and scale the customer base.