Rapid prioritisation of topics for rapid evaluation: the case of innovations in adult social care and social work

Katherine Cowan, Naomi J. Fulop, Amelia Harshfield, Pei Li Ng, Antiopi Ntouva, Manbinder Sidhu, Jon Sussex, Sonila M. Tomini, Holly Walton*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)
    7 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: Prioritisation processes are widely used in healthcare research and increasingly in social care research. Previous research has recommended using consensus development methods for inclusive research agenda setting. This research has highlighted the need for transparent and systematic methods for priority setting. Yet there has been little research on how to conduct prioritisation processes using rapid methods. This is a particular concern when prioritisation needs to happen rapidly. This paper aims to describe and discuss a process of rapidly identifying and prioritising a shortlist of innovations for rapid evaluation applied in the field of adult social care and social work. 

    Method: We adapted the James Lind Alliance approach to priority setting for rapid use. We followed four stages: (1) Identified a long list of innovations, (2) Developed shortlisting criteria, (3) Grouped and sifted innovations, and (4) Prioritised innovations in a multi-stakeholder workshop (n = 23). Project initiation through to completion of the final report took four months. 

    Results: Twenty innovations were included in the final shortlist (out of 158 suggested innovations). The top five innovations for evaluation were identified and findings highlighted key themes which influenced prioritisation. The top five priorities (listed here in alphabetical order) were: Care coordination for dementia in the community, family group conferencing, Greenwich prisons social care, local area coordination and MySense.Ai. Feedback from workshop participants (n = 15) highlighted tensions from using a rapid process (e.g. challenges of reaching consensus in one workshop). 

    Conclusion: The method outlined in this manuscript can be used to rapidly prioritise innovations for evaluation in a feasible and robust way. We outline some implications and compromises of rapid prioritisation processes for future users of this approach to consider.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number34
    JournalHealth Research Policy and Systems
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information: RSET (Project ID: 16/138/17) and BRACE (Project ID: 16/138/31) have been funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) programme. NJF is an NIHR Senior Investigator. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

    Open Access: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or
    other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativeco
    mmons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

    Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s).

    Citation: Cowan, K., Fulop, N.J., Harshfield, A. et al. Rapid prioritisation of topics for rapid evaluation: the case of innovations in adult social care and social work. Health Res Policy Sys 19, 34 (2021).

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12961-021-00693-2


    • Adults
    • Innovations
    • Prioritisation
    • Rapid
    • Social care


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