Setting priorities for research in blood donation and transfusion: outcome of the James Lind Alliance priority-setting partnership.
Hibbs SP., Brunskill SJ., Donald GC., Saunders HD., Murphy MF.
BACKGROUND: How do we decide which topics should be prioritized for research? The need for a robust process for prioritization by key stakeholders, and not just the researchers themselves, was recognized by the James Lind Alliance. A methodology has been established to enable clinicians, patients, and caregivers to identify and prioritize important uncertainties for research in different health areas. This methodology was applied to transfusion medicine to help focus the research agenda in this field. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: A steering group was formed in 2015 comprising four donor/patient/caregiver representatives and six clinicians and was supported by an information scientist and James Lind Alliance representatives. The scope of the priority-setting partnership included uncertainties from blood donation through transfusion but excluded laboratory aspects of transfusion and specialist blood products. Three methods were used to identify the top 10 research priorities: two widely disseminated online surveys, a search of existing literature, and a final prioritization workshop. RESULTS: There were 408 respondents to the first survey contributing 817 questions, which were refined into 54 indicative questions that had not already been answered by previous research. Respondents to a second survey were asked to select the three questions they believed to be the most important. The 30 most popular research questions were then brought to a workshop of donors, patients, and caregivers to produce the "top 10." CONCLUSION: This prioritized list should be of considerable value to both researchers and funding bodies when considering what research should be conducted in transfusion medicine.