Respir Care. 2022 Dec;67(12):1609-1632. doi: 10.4187/respcare.10012.
Delphi survey techniques are a common consensus method used to collect feedback from an expert panel to inform practices, establish guidelines, and identify research priorities. Collecting respiratory therapists’ (RT) expertise and experiences as part of consensus-building methodologies is one way to ensure that they align with RT practices and to better influence respiratory care practice. This narrative review aimed to report the RT representation in expert panels of Delphi studies focused on respiratory therapy practices and research priorities. The research question that guided this review is: to what extent are RTs included as expert participants among published Delphi studies relate to respiratory therapy and research topics? We conducted a structured search of the literature and identified 23 papers that reported Delphi studies related to respiratory care practices and 15 that reported on respiratory-related research priorities. Delphi studies that focused on reporting consensus on respiratory care practices included the following: (1) mechanical ventilation, (2) high-flow nasal cannula therapy, (3) COVID-19 respiratory management, (4) home oxygen therapy, (5) cardiopulmonary monitoring, and (6) disease-specific guidelines. Delphi studies that focused on establishing respiratory research priorities included the following: (1) theory and practice-orientated knowledge gaps, and (2) priority research topics for empirical investigation. The results of this review suggest that RTs were rarely included as expert participants and, when involved, were minimally represented (5% to 33%). Given RTs’ diverse and relevant experience in respiratory care, incorporating their perspectives to inform future education, respiratory care practices, and research priorities would allow evidence to better align with knowledge gaps deemed important for the respiratory therapy profession.
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