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Patient authorship: key questions answered (Part A)

Books and lots of questions

Patient authorship is an important avenue on the road to patient centricity. A recent two-part series in The MAP Newsletter – written by medical communication professionals and patient authors – delves into three key questions surrounding patient authorship. Part A of the series answers the first of these: What are the potential benefits for industry sponsors that encourage patient authorship and the potential risks for those that do not?

In terms of publication plans and medical plans, increased real-world relevance and unity between patients and healthcare professionals are just some of benefits highlighted by the authors. Patient authorship could also improve sponsors’ relationships with patient communities, creating new opportunities within a sponsor’s own business or with important stakeholders. In the long term, the authors envisage a future of ethical and effective collaboration between patients, researchers and sponsors that do embrace patient authorship. Conversely, sponsors that do not pursue patient-focused innovation could miss opportunities for patient collaboration and may see their reputations on the line; patient communities could publicly criticise sponsors who exclude patient authors. As well as risking damage to their brands, these sponsors may encounter concomitant negative impacts on patient-dependent processes such as clinical trial recruitment.

The authors also explore the numerous factors that are driving patient authorship. These include increased availability of training for patients on how to author publications and implementation of strategies by peer-reviewed journals to promote patient authorship, such as the Patient and Public Partnership initiative adopted by The BMJ. The authors implore the whole publication community to consider their stance on patient authorship, and suggest that medical publication professionals are in a position to optimise the patient authorship experience for all involved.

In Part B of this two-part article authors share practical advice, addressing the questions, “How can patient authors meet the first ICMJE criterion?” and “What challenges might patients face when becoming authors and how could medical communication professionals help address these challenges?” Look out for our summary, coming soon!

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Summary by Emma Prest PhD from Aspire Scientific

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


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