Peer review—independent assessment by recognized experts—is central to the research process, from deciding which study proposals to fund to evaluating articles for publication in scientific journals. At PCORI, our authorizing law requires the completed research we fund to undergo peer review, which ensures scientific integrity and adherence to our methodology standards.

But as we developed our peer-review process in 2015, we decided it should do more, incorporating our patient-centered approach to research while maintaining the principles of a time-honored scientific process. Traditionally, all peer reviewers are scientific content experts. But we added patients and other healthcare stakeholders as reviewers. The idea is that, along with asking scientists about the studies, we consult others with practical expertise and lived experience about the relevance, usefulness, and patient-centeredness of the studies.

To realize this goal, our partners at Oregon Health and Science University (including two of this blog’s coauthors), which helps manage the PCORI peer-review process, identified and trained a cadre of patients and other stakeholder reviewers. These reviewers assess completed PCORI-funded studies by analyzing the draft final research reports that PCORI’s awardees submit when they finish their projects.

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