Objectives: To describe the creation of an Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) research agenda specific to multicenter research. Given the need for multicenter research in EMSC and the unique opportunity afforded by the creation of the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN), the authors revisited existing EMSC research agendas to develop a PECARN-specific research agenda. They sought to prioritize PECARN research efforts, to guide investigators planning to conduct research in PECARN, and to describe the creation of a prioritized EMSC research agenda specific for multicenter research.
Methods: The authors used the Nominal Group Process and Hanlon Process of Prioritization (HPP), which are recognized research prioritization methods incorporating both quantitative and qualitative data collection in group settings. The formula used to generate the final priority list heavily weighted practicality of conduct in a multicenter research network. By using size, seriousness, and practicality measures of each health priority, PECARN was able to identify factors that could be scored individually and were weighted relative to each other.
Results: The prioritization processes resulted in a ranked list of 16 multicenter EMSC research topics. Top among these priorities were 1) respiratory illnesses/asthma, 2) prediction rules for high-stakes/low-likelihood diseases, 3) medication error reduction, 4) injury prevention, and 5) urgency and acuity scaling.
Conclusions: The PECARN prioritization process identified high-priority EMSC research topics specific to multicenter research. PECARN has the capacity to answer long-standing, important clinical controversies in EMSC, largely due to its ability to conduct randomized controlled trials and observational studies on a large scale.