As one of a number of changes designed to make the journal more patient-centered, The BMJ announced in 2014 that it would recruit patients to peer review research articles. In a blog this week in The BMJ, the authors (both patient reviewers themselves) discuss the potential pros of this patient peer review process.
According to the authors, “the journal recognised that patients, especially those with serious or chronic diseases, often become knowledgeable about the causes, symptoms, and management of their own disease, or that of their family members.”. They go to say that patients are “an underutilised source of research knowledge even though their practical input can build bridges and reduce barriers as well as influence the speed at which evidence is adopted into practice….. Citizen reviewers can bring to the table added depth and practical insight to research, education, and analysis articles. They can lend their voices to identify gaps and shape priorities in research through communicating their understanding and experience to authors, researchers, and clinicians… This provides an unprecedented opportunity for co-created meaning, shared values, and dynamic change in research production.”.