Results Summary and Professional Abstract
Research to Help People with Serious Mental Illnesses Improve Their Health
People with serious mental illnesses often struggle to receive care to address common chronic physical health problems. Several PCORI-funded research projects are testing ways to help people with serious mental illness get the physical health care they need.
Patients Helping Patients Navigate Serious Mental Illness
In a blog post, two patient partners from PCORI-funded projects discuss their personal experiences and their projects' findings that integrating peer navigators into routine care can improve the physical health of patients with serious mental illness.
Peer Navigators for Latinos with Serious Mental Illness (top-right)
A principal investigator and patient partner talk about their PCORI-funded project, which compared using peer navigators to usual care for Latino patients with serious mental illness.
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. Those comments and responses included the following:
- Reviewers noted that the report describes the patient population under study as having serious mental illness. They also stated that for most readers serious mental illness would indicate the more severe and less common mental illnesses, like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. However, most of the patient sample had depression or anxiety, which are more common mental illnesses. The researchers clarified that they determined study eligibility more by functional disability—as reported by the patient—than by a specific diagnosis.
- Reviewers expressed concern that researchers ascertained the primary outcomes, scheduled appointments and achieved appointments, through patient self-reporting and not through more objective means, like the patients’ medical records. Reviewers further noted that participants in the peer navigation program might have more incentive to overestimate the number of their appointments because they felt more accountable to their peer navigators. The researchers acknowledged this concern with a statement in the study limitations section.
- Reviewers noted that the data did not support the conclusion that study participants in the peer navigator program had more achieved appointments than participants in the integrated care program, despite the significant interaction term in the multivariable analysis. The results instead seemed to indicate a positive trend in achieved appointments for the integrated care group rather than for the peer navigator program group. In response, the researchers added a statement to the results indicating that post-hoc analyses failed to show that the significant interaction resulted in a greater increase in achieved appointments for either condition.
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