University of Hertfordshire

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A multi-stakeholder approach to the co-production of the research agenda for medicines optimisation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • John Fellenor
  • Nicky Britten
  • Molly Courtenay
  • Rupert A Payne
  • Jose Valderas
  • Rachel Denholm
  • Polly Duncan
  • Deborah McCahon
  • Lynn Tatnell
  • Richard Fitzgerald
  • Krystal Warmoth
  • David Gillespie
  • Katrina Turner
  • Margaret Watson
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Original languageEnglish
Article number64
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2021


BACKGROUND: Up to 50% of medicines are not used as intended, resulting in poor health and economic outcomes. Medicines optimisation is 'a person-centred approach to safe and effective medicines use, to ensure people obtain the best possible outcomes from their medicines'. The purpose of this exercise was to co-produce a prioritised research agenda for medicines optimisation using a multi-stakeholder (patient, researcher, public and health professionals) approach.

METHODS: A three-stage, multiple method process was used including: generation of preliminary research questions (Stage 1) using a modified Nominal Group Technique; electronic consultation and ranking with a wider multi-stakeholder group (Stage 2); a face-to-face, one-day consensus meeting involving representatives from all stakeholder groups (Stage 3).

RESULTS: In total, 92 research questions were identified during Stages 1 and 2 and ranked in order of priority during stage 3. Questions were categorised into four areas: 'Patient Concerns' [e.g. is there a shared decision (with patients) about using each medicine?], 'Polypharmacy' [e.g. how to design health services to cope with the challenge of multiple medicines use?], 'Non-Medical Prescribing' [e.g. how can the contribution of non-medical prescribers be optimised in primary care?], and 'Deprescribing' [e.g. what support is needed by prescribers to deprescribe?]. A significant number of the 92 questions were generated by Patient and Public Involvement representatives, which demonstrates the importance of including this stakeholder group when identifying research priorities.

CONCLUSIONS: A wide range of research questions was generated reflecting concerns which affect patients, practitioners, the health service, as well the ethical and philosophical aspects of the prescribing and deprescribing of medicines. These questions should be used to set future research agendas and funding commissions.


© The Author(s) 2021. 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.

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