Background & aims: A quantitative systematic identification and prioritization of unmet needs and research opportunities in relation to enteral nutrition was conducted by means of a tailor-made health research prioritization process. Methods: The research objectives were reached by conducting qualitative interviews followed by quantitative questionnaires targeting enteral nutrition key opinion leaders (KOLs). (1) Define disease areas that deserve more research attention; (2) Rank importance of product characteristics of tube feeding (TF) and oral nutritional supplements (ONS); (3) Assess involvement of KOLs in enteral nutrition R&D process. KOLs ranked three product characteristics and three disease areas that deserve additional research attention. From these, overall priority scores were calculated by multiplying ranks for both product characteristics and disease areas. Results: 17 qualitative interviews were conducted and 77 questionnaires (response rate 35%) were completed and returned. (1) Disease areas in ONS and TF with highest priorities are: ONS: general malnutrition & geriatrics, TF: intensive care. (2) TF product characteristics with highest priorities are: composition and clinical evidence from a KOL perspective; tolerance and ease of use from a patient perspective. ONS product characteristics with highest priorities are: composition, clinical evidence and taste from a KOL perspective; taste from a patient perspective. We find a high discrepancy between product characteristic prioritization from a KOL and patient perspective. (3) Although 62% of all KOLs give advice to enteral nutrition companies on patient needs, they under-influence the setting of research priorities by enteral nutrition companies. Conclusions: This study provides a systematic approach to achieve research prioritization in enteral nutrition. In addition to providing new directions for enteral nutrition research and development, this study highlights the relevance of involving KOLs in the identification of research priorities as they have the ability to provide a balanced view of the unmet patient needs.

Disease areas No items selected, Enteral nutrition market, Key opinion leaders, Patient needs, Product characteristics, Research priorities,
ERIM Top-Core Articles
Clinical Nutrition
Department of Virology

Weenen, T.C, Jentink, A, Pronker, E.S, Commandeur, H.R, Claassen, H.J.H.M, Boirie, Y, & Singer, P. (2013). Patient needs and research priorities in the enteral nutrition market - A quantitative prioritization analysis. Clinical Nutrition. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2013.11.002