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The nature and value of research priority setting in healthcare: Case study of the POTTER project [Opinion Piece]

By K. Bannigan, Gail Boniface, M. Nicol, A. Porter-Armstrong, R. Scudds and P. Doherty


Health research provides new knowledge to improve the population's health. There are limited resources to fund this research so many organisations have developed research priorities to guide commissioning. These studies often involve the use of consensus methods. The POTTER project, commissioned by the College of Occupational Therapists, is used as a case study to explore the question, 'Does there need to be less emphasis on consensus in research priority setting to ensure better investment in health?' This is because the POTTER project identified the effectiveness of occupational therapy as the top research priority for UK-based occupational therapists. This result is too broad to be useful for commissioners because any topic could potentially attract funding under this heading. So, while consensus methods may promote ownership of results, criteria-based methods, ie demographic trends, burden of disease, potential benefits and policy, are likely to promote better investment in health. Managers have not traditionally played a role in research priority setting but they should be more involved. The nature of their involvement in service delivery inevitably requires them to have different concerns to clinicians and so they are not necessarily focused on specific interventions. Generally this means they consider the wider healthcare context when research priorities are being shaped

Topics: RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:
Provided by: ORCA
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