In order to ensure that funding to support comparative effectiveness research is used to address the questions of greatest importance to decision makers, there is a need to develop a methodologically robust framework for prioritizing research questions. This project was designed to develop and then test one potential framework for prioritizing research questions based on the evidence gaps identified in a recent Evidence-Based Practice Center review: “Comparative Effectiveness Review of Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (PCI) and Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABG)”.
The prioritization project relied on a modified Delphi-approach. After identifying the evidence gaps in the Evidence-Based Practice Center report, the evidence gaps were translated into research questions. Once the research questions had been identified, CMTP convened a multi-stakeholder group who was first asked to review the questions to see if there were any left out, or if any were repetitive. Next, each member of the stakeholder group was asked to score each question, based on a number of criteria, on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 meaning the research question should be a high priority. After this initial round, the stakeholder group met to discuss the results from the initial round of scoring. After the discussion, each member re-scored each of the research questions, the results were tabulated, and a final prioritized research agenda was created. The results are discussed in a published manuscript [Chalkidou K, Whicher D, Tunis S, Kary W. Comparative Effectiveness Research Priorities: Identifying Critical Gaps in Evidence for Clinical and Heath Policy Decision Making. International Journal for Health Technology Assessment in Health Care. 2009. 25(3): 241-248] and CMTP has followed a similar process for prioritizing research questions for several other projects.
Support for this project was provided by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.