Results Summary and Professional Abstract
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:
- Due to challenges implementing the original study design, the research plan was significantly restructured. The reviewers recommended that the researchers explain the restructuring early in the report to set up the description of the methods. The researchers added a section to the background describing the original study design and the reason for the overall changes. The researchers also described specific additional changes in the methods, believing this approach provided the most clarity.
- The reviewers asked for more information about the control arm approach of Supportive Case Management (SCM), particularly because the researchers had so much trouble getting clinicians to change their behavior and use the SafeCare approach in place of SCM. The researchers expanded their description of the SCM approach but noted that they also had difficulty collecting data from providers during the study. The researchers posited that providers’ resistance to the new approach may have contributed to problems in implementation.
- The reviewers said the stakeholder selection process was problematic and should be justified. In particular, they noted that inclusion of only three patient partners seemed insufficient. The researchers expanded the section about stakeholder selection. They did acknowledge that they recruited patient and stakeholder partners based on practicality and on keeping the research team at a manageable size while still bringing in a variety of perspectives.
- Some reviewers wondered about the reasons for different levels of recruitment in the two study arms. The researchers said the participation rates were higher for the SafeCare arm than for the SCM arm. They suggested this was because of stronger recruitment efforts by the SafeCare providers. The researchers observed that many families referred to the SCM arm may not have been well informed about the study and thus, were less likely to participate.
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