Peer review of PCORI-funded research helps make sure the report presents complete, balanced, and useful information about the research. It also confirms that the research has followed PCORI’s Methodology Standards. During peer review, experts who were not members of the research team read a draft report of the research. These experts may include a scientist focused on the research topic, a specialist in research methods, a patient or caregiver, and a healthcare professional. Reviewers do not have conflicts of interest with the study.
The peer reviewers point out where the draft report may need revision. For example, they may suggest ways to improve how the research team analyzed its results or reported its conclusions. Learn more about PCORI’s peer-review process here.
In response to peer review, the PI made changes including
- Describing how the decision aids evaluated in this study aligned with accepted standards established in the International Patient Decision Aids Standards. Reviewers noted that some components of the mPOWR intervention that focused on quality of life rather than medical decision making, but the researchers did indicate which standards were applicable to which parts of the decision aid.
- Specifying which of the many outcome measures were the primary outcomes on which the conclusions were based. The reviewers had found it difficult to determine which outcomes were most important in this research, and which should be considered more exploratory.
- Elaborating on the content of the shared decision making system and decision aids by including copies of the protocol and tools in an appendix. The draft report lacked specific information about these tools, making it difficult to evaluate the scientific quality of the intervention results.
- Expanding on study limitations to consider whether the intervention itself caused some barriers to uptake by clients. This was based on reviewer recommendations responding to the high rates of both incomplete implementation of the intervention, and high patient drop-out from the intervention.
Finally, while reviewers argued that the researchers could have used a simpler statistical approach given the small sample size and high dropout rate, they appreciated the clear presentation of study results, which showed that the decision aid did not improve primary or secondary outcomes relative to usual care.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures
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^Shobha Pais, MS, PhD, and Erika Van Buren, PhD, were the original principal investigators for this project.