|This project's final research report is expected to be available by December 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:
- The reviewers had trouble seeing the connection between the qualitative and quantitative portions of the study. They suggested adding a diagram or a more detailed and specific description of the connection in prose. The researchers added a figure to the background section and provided a more concise abstract. They explained that they used the themes that emerged from focus groups to decide which variables to include in the development of the surveillance tool they used to study Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey data.
- Reviewers noted that the discussion repeatedly referred to people “with and without disabilities,” implying that similar themes emerged for both groups. However, they wondered whether a larger qualitative study would have found differences between groups. The researchers said they hypothesized that different themes would emerge for people with and without disabilities but themes around healthcare experiences were consistent between the groups. The researchers were confident about their results because of the strong support for these themes among participants and lack of new themes raised during the process. They were also confident because the themes remained stable after participants were able to make corrections or clarify the themes in writing and in speaking about them.
- Reviewers wondered why the researchers excluded people younger than age 65 from the quantitative portion of the study. The researchers responded that while their focus groups included people younger than 65, they did not include that age group in the quantitative analysis because of the limited number of Medicare beneficiaries under 65 and the high use of proxy respondents for that age group. The researchers also excluded this age group because large amounts of data were missing for those under 65.
- Reviewers noted the small sample size for the qualitative portion of the study, especially given the inclusion of participants without disabilities and clinicians in focus groups, as well as participants with disabilities. The researchers said they included participants from the three different groups because these groups interact in the healthcare environment and could offer different perspectives on how to improve care for people with disabilities.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures
View the COI disclosure form.
^Margaret Stineman, MD was the original principal investigator for this project.