Historically, few publications exist where patient engagement in clinical studies is a driving force in study design and implementation. The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), established in 2010, employed a new model of integrating stakeholder perspectives into healthcare research. This manuscript aims to share the experience of a Patient Engagement Group (PEG) that has engaged in hepatitis C (HCV) clinical research alongside investigators conducting two studies funded by PCORI and to inspire others to get more involved in research that can impact our healthcare and health policies.There are many gaps in treating infectious diseases. Traditionally, treatment and research have been strictly clinical/medical approaches with little focus on the biopsychosocial aspects of individual patients. Our PEG reflected on its own personal experiences regarding how research design can affect study implementation by including patients who are normally excluded. We considered barriers to treatment, out of pocket costs, access to insurance, and patient race/ethnicity. Common themes were discovered, and four major topics were discussed. In addition, measures used in the two studies to collect patient data were considered, tested, and implemented by the group.We describe in detail how we were formed and how we have worked together with researchers on two PCORI funded projects over the past 7 years. We formulated and implemented guidelines and responsibilities for operating as a PEG as well as appointing a chair, co-chair, and primary author of this manuscript.Written from the perspective of a PEG whose members experienced HCV treatment and cure, we provide lessons learned, and implications for further research to include patients. PEGs like ours who are included as active partners in research can provide useful input to many areas including how patients are treated during clinical trials, how they interact with research teams, and how the clinical benefits of drugs or devices are defined and evaluated. PCORI believes engagement impacts research to be more patient-centered, useful, and trustworthy, and will ultimately lead to greater use and interest of research results by the patient and the broader healthcare community.
Keywords: Drug trials; Healthcare; Hepatitis C (HCV); Infectious diseases; Insurance companies; Minority participation; Patient centered; Patient centered research institute (PCORI); Patient engagement group (PEG); Research studies.