Intended for healthcare professionals


Making patient relevant clinical research a reality

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: (Published 23 December 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6627

Chinese translation


  1. Sally Crowe, director1,
  2. Ceinwen Giles, director of partnerships and evaluation2
  1. 1Crowe Associates, Thame OX9 3LW, UK
  2. 2Shine Cancer Support, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: S Crowe sally{at}

Researchers, funders, and publishers all have work to do

Clinical research aims to improve the knowledge base in the prevention, treatment, care, and cure of disease while delivering good value for money and avoiding research waste.1 However, a wide gap exists between what generally receives funding and what patients, carers, and the public would like to see examined.2 3 4

There is, of course, a moral imperative to understand the priorities of those who may benefit from research. But incorporating patient perspectives more thoroughly into clinical research would also broaden its scope and help answer the research questions likely to bring about the biggest improvements in our understanding of disease.

Several problems underlie our current inability to make research relevant to patients and the wider public. Most importantly, research is a power rich and hierarchical environment in which successful clinical researchers are at the top and patients, carers, and the public are viewed as passive beneficiaries at the bottom. These power dynamics and the status quo …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription