Introduction: There is limited evidence regarding clinical research priorities in emergency medicine outside of some special interest groups. The ACEM Clinical Trials Group undertook a consensus meeting with the aim of developing a reproducible weighting matrix for assessing clinical research priorities.
Methods: A session at the ACEM annual scientific meeting was dedicated to this meeting. Results from a survey of the ACEM researcher database were presented, along with a proposed weighting matrix. After discussion and adjustment, consensus was achieved on the matrix.
Results: It was agreed that the following criteria be used in the matrix: research category and sub-category priority ranking from the ACEM researcher database survey, frequency of presentation of potentially eligible participants, the level of pre-existing evidence regarding the proposed research question and the likely clinical impact of the research. Each criterion was given a weighting, with clinical impact given the heaviest weighting. The weighting matrix was subsequently applied to the list of research questions that resulted from the researcher database survey and a list of research priorities determined.
Conclusion: The weighting matrix allows reproducible comparison of research questions. The resultant list of research priorities will act as a guide for the ACEM Clinical Trials Group in determining future projects.