This work aimed to objectively identify the main research areas at the University Hospital of Parma. To this end, a multidisciplinary working group, comprising clinicians, researchers, and hospital management, was formed to develop a shared quali-quantitative method. Easily retrievable performance indicators were selected from the literature (concerning bibliometric data and grant acquisition), and a scoring system developed to assign weights to each indicator. Subsequently, Research Team Leaders were identified from the hospital's "Research Plan", a document produced every three years which contains information on the main research themes carried out at each Department, involved staff and available resources, provided by health care professionals themselves. The selected performance indicators were measured for each Team Leader, and scores assigned, thus creating a ranking list. Through the analyses of the research themes of top Team Leaders, the Working Group identified the following five strategic research areas: (a) personalized treatment in oncology and hematology; (b) chronicization mechanisms in immunomediate diseases; (c) old and new risk factors for cardiovascular diseases; (d) nutritional disorders, metabolic and chronic-degenerative diseases; (e) molecular diagnostic and predictive markers. We have developed an objective method to identify a hospital's main research areas. Its application can guide resource allocation and can offer ways to value the work of professionals involved in research.
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