PURPOSE: By use of a systematic approach, the aim of this project was to survey a group of colorectal specialists and reach a consensus on the research questions of highest importance in terms of clinical care. METHODS: A modified Delphi process was performed. In Round 1 research questions were solicited from members of The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. A review group categorized the results, combined similar questions, and presented them to The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons membership in Round 2 for prioritizing according to importance. In Round 3 the 50 questions with the highest scores in Round 2 were reranked by The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons membership to produce the 20 highest-priority research questions. RESULTS: A total of 203 respondents in Round 1 submitted 746 questions. The review team reduced these to 105 individual questions encompassing 21 topics in colorectal surgical practice. In Rounds 2 and 3, 399 and 360 respondents, respectively, prioritized the questions presented. The final 20 items included 14 questions related to colorectal cancer, and 6 were on benign disease topics. CONCLUSIONS: The research agenda produced by this study reflects the clinical issues of greatest importance to colorectal surgeons. The results are of potential benefit to researchers, funding organizations, medical journals, and ultimately, patients.
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