January 31, 2019

Twelve Lessons Learned for Effective Research Partnerships Between Patients, Caregivers, Clinicians, Academic Researchers, and Other Stakeholders

Abstract

Research increasingly means that patients, caregivers, health professionals, other stakeholders, and academic investigators work in partnership. This requires effective collaboration rooted in mutual respect, involvement of all participants, and good communication. Having conducted such partnered research over multiple projects, and having recently completed a project together funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, we collaboratively developed a list of 12 lessons we have learned about how to ensure effective research partnerships. To foster a culture of mutual respect, hold early in-person meetings, with introductions focused on motivation, offer appropriate orientation for everyone, and maintain awareness of individual and project goals. To actively involve all team members, it is important to ensure sufficient funding for everyone’s participation, to ask for and recognize diverse contributions, and to seek the input of quiet members. To facilitate good communication, teams should carefully consider labels, avoid jargon and acronyms, judiciously use homogeneous and heterogeneous subgroups, and keep progress visible. In offering pragmatic, actionable lessons we have learned through our separate and shared experiences, we hope to help foster more patient-centered research via productive and enjoyable research collaborations.