Identifying the research priorities of healthcare professionals in UK vascular surgery: modified Delphi approach.
Smith GE., Long J., Wallace T., Carradice D., Chetter IC., Vascular Research Collaborative None.
BACKGROUND: The Vascular Research Collaborative was established to develop a national research strategy for patients with vascular disease in the UK. This project aimed to establish national research priorities in this patient group. METHODS: A modified Delphi approach, an established method for reaching a consensus opinion among a group of experts in a particular field, was used to survey national multidisciplinary vascular clinical specialists. Two rounds of online surveys were conducted involving the membership of the Vascular Society, Society of Vascular Nurses, Society for Vascular Technology, and the Rouleaux Club (vascular surgical trainees). The first round invited any suggestions for vascular research topics. A steering group then collated and rationalized the suggestions, categorizing them by consensus into pathological topics and research categories, and amalgamating the various questions relating to the same fundamental issue into a single question. The second round involved recirculating these questions to the same participants for priority scoring. RESULTS: Round 1 resulted in 1231 suggested research questions from 481 respondents. Steering group collation and rationalization resulted in 83 questions for ranking in round 2. The second round resulted in a hierarchical list of vascular research priorities. The highest scoring priorities addressed topics related to critical lower-limb ischaemia, diabetic foot disease, amputation, wound healing, carotid plaque morphology, and service organization/delivery. CONCLUSION: It is anticipated that these results will drive the UK national vascular research agenda for the next 5-10 years. It will facilitate focused development and funding of new research projects in current clinical areas of unmet need where potential impact is greatest.