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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 695729, 8 pages
Research Article

Improvement Research Priorities: USA Survey and Expert Consensus

1Academic Center for Evidence-Based Practice, School of Nursing, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA
2Steering Council Member, Improvement Science Research Network, USA
3Medical Management Centre, The Karolinska Institutet, 17177 Stockholm, Sweden

Received 2 March 2013; Revised 3 June 2013; Accepted 25 June 2013

Academic Editor: Deborah Vincent

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen R. Stevens and John Ovretveit. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of this study was to identify stakeholder views about national priorities for improvement science and build agreement for action in a national improvement and implementation research network in the USA. This was accomplished using three stages of identification and consensus. (1) Topics were identified through a multipronged environmental scan of the literature and initiatives. (2) Based on this scan, a survey was developed, and stakeholders ( ) were invited to rate the resulting 33-topic, 9-category list, via an online survey. Data from 560 respondents (20% response) were analyzed. (3) An expert panel used survey results to further refine the research priorities through a Rand Delphi process. Priorities identified were within four categories: care coordination and transitions, high-performing clinical systems and microsystems improvement approaches, implementation of evidence-based improvements and best practices, and culture of quality and safety. The priorities identified were adopted by the improvement science research network as the research agenda to guide strategy. The process and conclusions may be of value to quality improvement research funding agencies, governments, and research units seeking to concentrate their resources on improvement topics where research is capable of yielding timely and actionable answers as well as contributing to the knowledge base for improvement.