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Identifying neonatal transport research priorities: a modified Delphi consensus


Objectives With increasing advances in neonatal transport, a focused research strategy is required to increase the evidence base towards providing optimal care. We aimed to identify the most important neonatal transport research questions as prioritised by parents and healthcare professionals (HCPs).

Design Key stakeholders participated in a modified three-stage Delphi consensus process. Research questions were identified and submitted through two survey stages before the final priority setting workshop.

Participants Parents of babies who received neonatal care, neonatal HCPs and stakeholders.

Outcome Identify the top 10 research priorities for neonatal transport.

Results Overall, 269 survey responses from HCPs/stakeholders (n=161) and parents (n=108) were analysed from two survey rounds. Consensus was reached on 22 of 43 research priorities for the final priority setting workshop. The agreed top research priorities covered the domains of: (1) Pain assessment and management, (2) Long-term neurological outcomes, (3) Impact of transfer on birth-related brain injury, (4) Investigating risk of transport, (5) Safety restraints for infants, (6) Optimal temperature management, (7) Respiratory management and outcomes, (8) Benchmarking of important of transport measures, (9) Understanding transport environmental exposures, (10) Mental health and burden of transfer on families.

Conclusion We have identified the top research questions for neonatal transport through an extensive process actively engaging parents, HCPs and key stakeholders. Targeted funding and research resources, directed towards addressing these prioritised research areas, will inform evidence-based practices and international frameworks specific to neonatal transport, helping minimise research waste and ultimately improve outcomes for these high-risk infants and their families.

  • Neonatology
  • Qualitative research
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Health services research

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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