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Evaluation of patient involvement in a systematic review and meta-analysis of individual patient data in cervical cancer treatment

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Author(s): Vale Claire L | Tierney Jayne F | Spera Nicolette | Whelan Andrea | Nightingale Alison | Hanley Bec

Journal: Systematic Reviews
ISSN 2046-4053

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 23;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Public and patient involvement | Consumer involvement | Systematic review | Individual patient data | Cervical cancer

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background In April 2005, researchers based at the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit, set out to involve women affected by cervical cancer in a systematic review and meta-analysis of individual patient data to evaluate treatments for this disease. Each of the women had previously been treated for cervical cancer. Following completion of the meta-analysis, we aimed to evaluate the process of involvement from the researcher and research partner perspective. Methods An advisory group was first established to give advice on recruiting, supporting and involving women and led to efforts to recruit women to take part in the systematic review using different approaches. Evaluation of the process and outcomes of the partnership between the systematic reviewers and the patients, in respect to what the partnership achieved; what worked well and what were the difficulties; what was learned and the resource requirements, took place during the conduct of the meta-analysis and again after completion of the project. Results Six women, each of whom had received treatments for cervical cancer, were recruited as Patient Research Partners and five of these women subsequently took part in a variety of activities around the systematic review. They attended progress meetings and all but one attended a meeting at which the first results of the review were presented to all collaborators and gave feedback. Three of the women also became involved in a further related research project which led to an editorial publication from the patient perspective and also participated, along with two lead researchers, in the evaluation of the process and outcomes. While they were generally positive about the experience, one Patient Research Partner questioned the extent of the impact patients could make to the systematic review process. Conclusions In general, researchers and patient research partners felt that they had learned a lot from the process and considered it to have been a positive experience. The researchers felt that because of resource implications, patient involvement in future systematic reviews would probably have to be prioritized to those in which the greatest impacts could be achieved.
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