Results Summary and Professional Abstract
In Care Transitions, a Chance to Make or Break Patients' Recovery
Read a feature story about what happens when patients are harmed by poorly executed transitions between healthcare settings.
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 said they would have appreciated additionale context about rural discharge processes and outcomes that could be collected with qualitative methods. The researchers noted that they collected 50 case studies using qualitative methods but did not include them in the report because this would add considerably to the report’s length.
- Reviewers commented on the smaller than expected enrollment as a weakness that was not well addressed in the report. They stated that it would have been helpful to understand the reasons why individuals declined participation. The researchers expressed disappointment in the low enrollment levels as well but noted the high retention rates. They added that the project’s human subjects protection committee deemed it inappropriate to press patients for an explanation when they chose not to participate.
- Reviewers commented that the measures used for the study outcomes lacked the sensitivity to detect change. The reviewers agreed and commented on this in their study limitations section.
- Reviewers asked for an explanation for why the researchers excluded patients older than 75 from the study, finding this exclusion especially problematic since older patients are an important segment of the hospital population. The researchers said that members of the research group and their advisors debated extensively about this decision. They chose to exclude older patients to limit the number of subjects with cognitive impairments, but in retrospect, the researchers said they believe they should have set a higher age cutoff.
- In a few cases, reviewers asked for details about analyses and outcomes that the researchers could not provide because not all notes remained available after office moves and closures.
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