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Priority setting process

Identifying treatment uncertainties

Once established the partnership will open an initial survey for three to six months to request questions and uncertainties of practical clinical importance in surgery for common shoulder problems.

The methods used will be transparent and inclusive, seeking questions from healthcare professionals and patients who suffer from these problems and their carers. Methods will include membership meetings, email consultation, postal or web-based questionnaires, internet message boards and focus group work.

Prioritisation - interim and final stages

The aim of this final stage of the priority setting process is to review the unanswered questions collated by the survey. In a series of discussions either in meetings or by email, the questions are prioritised by order of importance. This process is carried out by the Steering Group and the wider partnership representing patients, carers, clinicians and healthcare professionals.

At the interim stage the initial long list of unanswered questions is prioritised by Steering Group members and partner organisations to produce a shorter list of 20-30 questions. This process may be carried out in a workshop or by using an online survey by which organisations consult their members who choose and rank the most important questions.

The final stage of the prioritisation process is a workshop comprising equal numbers of patients/carers and clinicians, at which a 'top ten' list of uncertainties is agreed through a series of group discussions. This final workshop will be facilitated by a James Lind Alliance Adviser to ensure the fair representation of all the participants - patients, carers and healthcare professionals.

Refining questions and uncertainties

The consultation process will produce a large number of unanswered questions from survey respondents. These will have to be refined into questions that researchers can use.

  1. The 'raw' unanswered questions will be collated, categorised and refined into clear questions to be addressed by research.
  2. The existing research literature will be searched to see if these refined questions have been clearly answered by previous research.
  3. Those questions not adequately addressed by previous research will be collated. These will be ranked and entered into the UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments (UK DUETs).

Findings and research

The final list of research priorities gathered at the end of the Surgery for Common Shoulder Problems Priority Setting Partnership, including the top ten priorities identified, will be given to the research strategies or agendas of the funding and supporting partners and made public.

They will also be reported to funding and research agenda setting organisations such as the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC) as well as the major research funding charities.

Publicity and dissemination

As well as alerting potential funders, partners and Steering Group members are encouraged to publish the findings of the Surgery for Common Shoulder Problems Priority Setting Partnership using both internal and external methods, including national conferences and the media.