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“The patient is speaking”: discovering the patient voice in ophthalmology
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    Comment: “The patient is speaking”: discovering the patient voice in ophthalmology
    • Khayam Bashir, Medical Student Imperial College London
    • Other Contributors:
      • Isra Hausien, Medical Student
      • Lamia Hamidovic, Medical Student
      • Dalia Abdulhussein, Medical Student

    We have read with interest the article by Dean et al(1). We completely agree with the premise that the ‘patient voice’ is not being fully utilised in all facets of ophthalmic care, ranging from research to clinical practice. Evidence suggests that rather than being a tokenistic addition, listening to the ‘patient voice’ can provide tangible improvements in cost efficiency and healthcare outcomes(2).

    A successful project spearheaded by the European Respiratory Society (ERS) called EMBARC(3) (European Multicentre Bronchiectasis Audit and Research Collaboration) sought to be a patient focused project, despite scarce existing infrastructure for patient involvement(3). In the research sphere of the project, patients were involved in clinical trials and studies. They played key roles in study design, wrote letters to secure financial backing for bronchiectasis-related projects, and were active members of advisory boards and ethical committees. Patients were a valuable asset on guideline panels, providing an alternative insight on the merits and negatives of various interventions, as well as their general acceptability. This initiative is a model example of how patients can influence the path research takes, and provides a tested framework for future ophthalmic research to be highly patient-relevant.

    Undoubtedly, there will be barriers to effective patient involvement in medical research and these will require flexible and innovative approaches to be overcome. These...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.