What is Patient-Oriented Research?

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Patient-oriented research (POR) recognizes that patients have lived experience of their health condition(s) and the health care system. Patient-oriented research values this knowledge and engages patients as partners, connecting them with health care providers, decision-makers and others, to conduct research that is relevant and applicable to improve health care. 

Who is the patient in POR?

The word ‘patient’ is used broadly and includes any person with experience of a health condition or receiving health care, including informal caregivers such as family and friends. 

In patient-oriented research, patients are not participants in a research study. Patients are partners. They actively collaborate with multidisciplinary teams to do research, for example setting research priorities, defining a research question and designing a study, collecting and interpreting data, or sharing research results through publications or other means.

Features of POR

The Canadian Institutes of Health (CIHR) Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) has advanced patient-oriented research in Canada. The MSSU is the result of this vision and commitment to engaging patients and caregivers in health-related research, and a part of the SPOR community.

According to the CIHR, patient-oriented research (POR):

  • Engages patients as partners;
  • Focuses on patient-identified priorities and improves patient outcomes;
  • Is conducted in multi-disciplinary teams in partnership with relevant stakeholders;
  • Aims to apply the knowledge generated to improve health systems and practice.(1)

The MSSU supports and conducts patient-oriented research across the Maritimes, including by helping Patient Partners to engage in patient-oriented research across the Maritimes.

(1) Adapted from the definition of Patient-Oriented Research in the SPOR Patient Engagement Framework, online: https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/48413.html (Accessed Feb 26, 2020).