Top ten research priorities for spinal cord injury: the methodology and results of a British priority setting partnership.
van Middendorp JJ., Allison HC., Ahuja S., Bracher D., Dyson C., Fairbank J., Gall A., Glover A., Gray L., Masri WE., Uttridge A., Cowan K.
STUDY DESIGN: This is a mixed-method consensus development project. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to identify a top ten list of priorities for future research into spinal cord injury (SCI). SETTING: The British Spinal Cord Injury Priority Setting Partnership was established in 2013 and completed in 2014. Stakeholders included consumer organisations, healthcare professional societies and caregivers. METHODS: This partnership involved the following four key stages: (i) gathering of research questions, (ii) checking of existing research evidence, (iii) interim prioritisation and (iv) a final consensus meeting to reach agreement on the top ten research priorities. Adult individuals with spinal cord dysfunction because of trauma or non-traumatic causes, including transverse myelitis, and individuals with a cauda equina syndrome (henceforth grouped and referred to as SCI) were invited to participate in this priority setting partnership. RESULTS: We collected 784 questions from 403 survey respondents (290 individuals with SCI), which, after merging duplicate questions and checking systematic reviews for evidence, were reduced to 109 unique unanswered research questions. A total of 293 people (211 individuals with SCI) participated in the interim prioritisation process, leading to the identification of 25 priorities. At a final consensus meeting, a representative group of individuals with SCI, caregivers and health professionals agreed on their top ten research priorities. CONCLUSION: Following a comprehensive, rigorous and inclusive process, with participation from individuals with SCI, caregivers and health professionals, the SCI research agenda has been defined by people to whom it matters most and should inform the scope and future activities of funders and researchers for the years to come. SPONSORSHIP: The NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre provided core funding for this project.