|This project's final research report is expected to be available by October 2019.|
Peer review of PCORI-funded research helps make sure the report presents complete, balanced, and useful information about the research. It also assesses how the project addressed PCORI’s Methodology Standards. During peer review, experts read a draft report of the research and provide comments about the report. These experts may include a scientist focused on the research topic, a specialist in research methods, a patient or caregiver, and a healthcare professional. These reviewers cannot 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 descriptions of the conduct of the study or to clarify the connection between results and conclusions. Sometimes, awardees revise their draft reports twice or more to address all of the reviewers’ comments.
Peer reviewers commented, and the researchers made changes or provided responses. The comments and responses included the following:
- Reviewers asked for more information on the researchers’ decisions about study design, as some of those may have contributed to the lack of statistical significance in the main results. The researchers acknowledged that some decisions about study design may have affected their ability to find significant results. For instance, their assumptions about the number of deaths in the study population and the number of referrals to hospice care were not met. This meant that there was not sufficient power to detect the expected difference in hospice rates between study and non-study-intervention periods.
- Reviewers noted that participants’ patient health questionnaire depressive scores were notably high and suggested the report should address this. The researchers agreed that the personal health questionnaire depressive scores were high but said that reflects the weakness of the measure since the questionnaire assesses symptoms of depression and not its etiology. As specialists who have worked with this chronically ill population extensively, the researchers said they would hesitate to describe the patients in the study as depressed.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures
View the COI disclosure form.