What Are the Top 10 Research Questions in the Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease? A Priority Setting Partnership with the James Lind Alliance

J Crohns Colitis. 2017 Feb;11(2):204-211. doi: 10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjw144. Epub 2016 Aug 9.


Background and aims: Many uncertainties remain regarding optimal therapies and strategies for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Setting research priorities addressing therapies requires a partnership between health care professionals, patients and organisations supporting patients. We aimed to use the structure of the James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership, which has been used in other disease areas, to identify and prioritise unanswered questions about treatments for inflammatory bowel disease.

Methods: The James Lind Priority Setting Partnership uses methods agreed and adopted in other disease areas to work with patients and clinicians: to identify uncertainties about treatments; to agree by consensus a prioritised list of uncertainties for research; then to translate these uncertainties into research questions which are amenable to hypothesis testing; and finally to take results to research commissioning bodies to be considered for funding.

Results: A total of 1636 uncertainties were collected in the initial survey from 531 respondents, which included 22% health care professionals and 78% patients and carers. Using the rigorously applied processes of the priority setting partnership, this list was distilled down to the top 10 research priorities for inflammatory bowel disease. The top priorities were: identifying treatment strategies to optimise efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness; and stratifying patients with regard to their disease course and treatment response. Diet and symptom control [pain, incontinence and fatigue] were also topics which were prioritised.

Conclusions: A partnership involving multidisciplinary clinicians, patients and organisations supporting patients has identified the top 10 research priorities in the treatment of patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

Keywords: James Lind Alliance; Research priorities; inflammatory bowel disease.

MeSH terms

  • Community Participation* / methods
  • Community Participation* / psychology
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / psychology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / therapy
  • Patient Care Management / methods*
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Research
  • Social Support
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uncertainty
  • United Kingdom