Patients, clinicians, payers, and policymakers can dramatically increase the utility and relevance of your research findings.

What can engaged stakeholders do for you?  Here are just some of the actions that result from strong stakeholder engagement.

Identify research priorities

Understanding the interests and values of patients and other stakeholders is a fundamental step in the development of a research agenda. Establishing relationships with these stakeholders early in the research process facilitates trust and can lead to sustained partnerships focused on improving health outcomes.

Design Studies

Stakeholder participation iincreases the likelihood that studies will be completed successfully and that results will be useful. The integration of research findings into clinical practice may also be accelerated by including stakeholders in study design decisions. Stakeholders involved in this phase are positioned as partners in research, and are better prepared to share key messages and champion new policies in the future.

Clarify Trade-offs

Open discussions with stakeholders concerning trade-offs in research studies will promote transparency and shared decision making.  Various decisions must be made throughout the research process that require the consideration of advantages and disadvantages, and that have implications for how resources are allocated. While a single study is unlikely to address every question of interest, thoughtful dialogue can clarify priorities and resource constraints, and encourage a mutual understanding that may mitigate future concerns.

Inform Policies

We all need healthcare policies that adequately address the needs of patients and decision makers. Polices that can be informed by stakeholders include, for example, new policies about informed consent, to changing formularies in a way that influences treatment access for patients, to regulatory policies about what outcomes are patient important and should be included in regulatory decision-making. 

Communicate Research Findings

Stakeholders can help you identify the most important messages about the research, from different perspectives, and also help to craft language that is in context and tailored to different audiences. Get the right information, in the right format, into the right hands. 

Promote Evidence-based Care

Changes in routine practice often lag behind advances in new knowledge. Stakeholders help you reach those who would drive practice change to new knowledge and promote practice change a way that is considerate of existing barriers that may slow uptake.