Practical Considerations for Using Online Methods to Engage Patients in Guideline Development

Published in: The Patient [Epub October 2017]. doi: 10.1007/s40271-017-0280-6

Posted on on October 31, 2017

by Sean Grant, Glen Hazlewood, Holly Peay, Ann Lucas, Ian D. Coulter, Arlene Fink, Dmitry Khodyakov

Read More

Access further information on this document at Springer International Publishing AG

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) have been widely used in healthcare policy, practice, and for suggesting future research. As patients increasingly become involved in CPG development to produce patient-centered recommendations, more research is needed on methods to engage patients, particularly methods allowing for scalable engagement of large, diverse, and geographically distributed groups of patients. In this article, we discuss practical considerations for using online methods to engage patients in CPG development. To inform this discussion, we conducted a rapid, systematic review of literature on patient involvement in CPG development and used qualitative evidence synthesis techniques to make inferences about potential advantages and challenges of using online methods to engage patients in this context. We identified 79 articles containing information about involving patients in CPG development. Potential advantages include the ability of online methods to facilitate greater openness and honesty by patients, as well as to reflect the diversity of patient views, which in turn further improve the utility of CPGs. Potential challenges of using online methods may include the extra skill, time, and certain types of resources that may be needed for patient engagement, as well as the difficulty engaging specific patient populations. However, these challenges are mitigated by growing calls for patient engagement as normative for CPG development in addition to patients' increasing familiarity with online technologies. These practical considerations should be examined empirically as guideline development groups further explore the appropriateness of using online methods to engage patients across different stages of CPG development

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.