BACKGROUND: The aim of our study was to use a modified Delphi process to determine the research priorities amongst benign upper gastrointestinal (UGI) surgeons in the United Kingdom.
METHODS: Delphi methodology may be utilised to develop consensus opinion amongst a group of experts. Members of the Association of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland were invited to submit individual research questions via an online survey (phase I). Two rounds of prioritisation by multidisciplinary expert healthcare professionals (phase II and III) were completed to determine a final list of high-priority research questions.
RESULTS: Four hundred and twenty-seven questions were submitted in phase I, and 51 with a benign UGI focus were taken forward for prioritisation in phase II. Twenty-eight questions were ranked in phase III. A final list of 11 high-priority questions had an emphasis on acute pancreatitis, Barrett's oesophagus and benign biliary disease.
CONCLUSION: A modified Delphi process has produced a list of 11 high-priority research questions in benign UGI surgery. Future studies and awards from funding bodies should reflect this consensus list of prioritised questions in the interest of improving patient care and encouraging collaborative research.