Background: Research in gastrointestinal and endoscopic surgery has witnessed unprecedented growth since the introduction of minimally invasive techniques in surgery. Coordination and focus of research efforts could further advance this rapidly expanding field. The objective of this study was to update the SAGES research agenda for gastrointestinal and endoscopic surgery.
Methods: A modified Delphi methodology was used to create the research agenda. Using an iterative, anonymous web-based survey, the general membership and leadership of SAGES were asked for input over three rounds. Initially submitted research questions were reviewed and consolidated by an expert panel and redistributed to the membership for priority ranking using a 5-point Likert scale of importance. The top 40 research questions of this round were then redistributed to and re-rated by members, and a final ranking was established. Comparisons were made between membership and leadership responses.
Results: 283 initially submitted research questions were condensed into 89 distinct questions, which were rated by 388 respondents to determine the top 40 questions. 460 respondents established the final ranking of these 40 most important research questions. Topics represented included training and technique, gastrointestinal, hernia, GERD, bariatric surgery, and endoscopy. The top question was, "How do we best train, assess, and maintain proficiency of surgeons and surgical trainees in flexible endoscopy, laparoscopy, and open surgery?" 28% of responders were leadership and the rest general members with the majority of ratings (73%) being similar between the groups. While SAGES leadership rated the majority of questions (89%) lower, they rated nonclinical questions higher compared with general membership.
Conclusions: An updated research agenda for gastrointestinal and endoscopic surgery was developed using a systematic methodology. This agenda may assist investigators and funding organizations to concentrate their efforts in the highest research priority areas and editors and reviewers in assessing the merit and relevance of scientific work.