Intended for healthcare professionals

  1. Antoine Boivin, co-director1,
  2. Tessa Richards, senior editor/patient partnership2,
  3. Laura Forsythe, director of evaluation and analysis3,
  4. Alexandre Grégoire, patient partner1,
  5. Audrey L’Espérance, senior adviser1,
  6. Julia Abelson, professor4,
  7. Kristin L Carman, director of public and patient engagement3
  1. 1Center of Excellence for Partnership with Patients and the Public, University of Montreal Hospital Research Center and Faculty of Medicine, Montreal, Canada
  2. 2BMJ, London, UK
  3. 3Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Washington, DC, USA
  4. 4Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  1. Correspondence to: A Boivin antoine.boivin{at}

If we are serious about involvement, we need to be equally serious about evaluation

Research funders increasingly recommend and require patient and public involvement (PPI) in the design, conduct, and dissemination of health and social care research.123 In the literature and policy discourse, PPI is justified by two lines of argument: one on the basis of ethical principles, the other on the assumption that it may improve the quality, relevance, and uptake of research.4

The scientific community holds polarised views on involvement, but all are calling for stronger evidence.5 Those critical of PPI want more evidence on the costs, benefits, and risks before they undertake anything more than a tick box approach to obtaining grants. For advocates already engaging with patients and the public, evaluation is necessary to understand how best to do PPI and fully reap the benefits of working together.

Over the past 10 years, the international literature evaluating PPI has more than tripled.6789 The recent systematic review by Cocker and colleagues focusing on PPI’s effect on enrolment and retention in clinical trials (doi:10.1136/bmj.k4738)10 is an important …

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