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Patient partnerships: what can other journals learn from The BMJ?

Handshake doctor and patient,A recent editorial in The BMJ recounts the journal’s experiences of working with patients and encourages other journals to forge their owns paths to successful patient and public partnerships.

The BMJ first began working with patient editors over 20 years ago and launched a patient and public partnership strategy in 2014. Alongside this, the journal created an international patient advisory panel of health professionals and policy experts who champion patient empowerment. These strategies have led to a number of editorial initiatives to improve patient involvement in The BMJ’s publishing model, such as mandating that authors report if and how they involved patients and the public in their studies, and establishing patient review alongside standard scientific peer review for all relevant articles.

The BMJ also advocates content written and co-written by patients, including in the ‘What your patient is thinking’ and  ‘The BMJ Opinion Patient Perspectives’ series, and has established guidance for authors on how to involve patients in their articles. The BMJ Events content team are also working to increase patient involvement in conferences.

The changes made by The BMJ as part of their partnership strategy are already having a positive impact, although, as noted in the editorial, there is room for further improvement. The BMJ invites other medical journals to join them in reducing the gap between the aspiration and reality of person-centred care and shared decision making.


Summary by Louise Niven DPhil, CMPP from Aspire Scientific


With thanks to our sponsors, Aspire Scientific Ltd and NetworkPharma Ltd

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