Healthcare research has always been dependent on the willingness of patients and volunteers to take part in studies. But in addition to being study participants, patients and members of the public are increasingly becoming involved in the planning and execution of studies too. They might, for example, work with funders to help prioritise fields of research, provide feedback to researchers on how to communicate their findings, or help to recruit study participants. The benefits of involving patients and the public in research are well recognised, but the reporting of such involvement in the scientific literature is often inconsistent. In a recent paper in The BMJ, Staniszewska and co-workers report the development of the GRIPP2 checklist, described by the authors as “the first international evidence based, consensus informed guidance for reporting patient and public involvement in research”.
The checklist, which was based on the original Guidance for Reporting Involvement of Patients and the Public (GRIPP), was prepared using the EQUATOR method for developing reporting guidelines. A three-round Delphi survey and a face-to-face meeting were used to obtain expert opinions on the content of the updated guidelines. The experts agreed that two versions of the guidelines were required: a short-form version suitable for any study that involves input from the public (GRIPP2-SF) and a long-form version for studies specifically about public and patient involvement in research (GRIPP2-LF).
Both versions of the checklist recommend that authors describe clearly the aims and methods of public and patient involvement in their study, as well as its outcomes and effects – both positive and negative. The hope is that the guidelines will improve the quality and transparency of reporting, enabling others to benefit from the input provided.