The Canadian Institutes of Health Research developed the Strategy for Patient Oriented Research. Working in multidisciplinary teams, patient-oriented research (POR) engages patients as equal partners in all aspects of the research process. A team in British Columbia sought to uncover what is known about the competencies needed by POR stakeholders: researchers, patients, health care providers and health system decision-makers. The question asked was: What are the core competencies needed to be successful in POR for members of each stakeholder group?
1) To articulate the competencies (knowledge, skills, attitudes) necessary for POR team members.
2) To identify the learning and professional development needs of each stakeholder group.
We conducted a scoping review of the peer-reviewed and grey literature to reveal stated or inferred competencies. From 3/2017 to 1/2018 we retrieved a total of 1885 publications through health database searches. We extracted data from 36 peer-reviewed papers and 39 grey literature publications. The team reached consensus on competency statements through an iterative group process.
Competency statements included 42 discrete knowledge and skill competencies for researchers and 71 for patients. For researchers, the highest number were in categories of 'participation', 'communications', 'teamwork' and 'conflict/tension management'. For patients, the highest number were in 'research knowledge and skills', 'cultural competence/context' and 'participation'. There were few competencies found for other stakeholders. Attitudes that demonstrate inclination to conduct POR were noted for all.
The competency statements illustrate learning needs for all stakeholders. Researchers require competencies in teamwork, power-sharing and group facilitation that augment their research expertise. Patients require knowledge of research methods and confidence in their ability to contribute to the team. All require a knowledge and acceptance of patient-oriented approaches to POR.
Patient or healthcare consumer involvement:
The findings suggest that training is required for patients to make significant contributions to POR. Researchers need to learn how to establish patient-partnerships and foster collaborative, non-hierarchical ways of working.