Podcast: What on earth is the point of doing research if it doesn’t make the patient’s life better?

Following the recent publication of the methods for user involvement in a Cochrane systematic review update in Systematic Reviews, we hear from the authors, patients and carers involved in research, as well as journal Editors, on involving patients and the wider public in research and how this can impact the clinical relevance.


Patient and public involvement in research is increasingly well-accepted in the research community. It was in support of this concept that BioMed Central launched the co-produced journal, Research Involvement and Engagement, which is dedicated to patient and the wider public involvement in research at all stages.

The Cochrane review on physiotherapy after stroke was recently updated with user involvement playing a key role from the very start of the process. In this podcast, we speak to some of the individuals involved with the research.

Here they share their perspectives on why they think this approach is so important and how they see it changing the future of research.


Alex Pollock
Alex Pollock

Starting with Alex Pollock, lead author of the review update, from Glasgow Caledonian University.

“I felt it was very important to get the question right and get the question from the point of view of the users of the evidence rather than just us as researchers.”


Heather Goodare
Heather Goodare

Secondly, Heather Goodare who contributed as a user. Since her husband’s stroke in 2007, Heather has been involved in stroke medicine research as a carer.

“What on earth is the point of doing research if it doesn’t make the patient’s life better?”


David Tovey
David Tovey

Next is Editor-in-Chief of the Cochrane Library, David Tovey. Before joining the Cochrane Library in 2009, he worked previously at the BMJ as an Editor. David has also worked as a General Practitioner.

“I think it was always envisaged that consumers, patients, carers would have a strong voice in Cochrane, and there certainly are groups that have taken that on really whole-heartedly”


Richard Stephens
Richard Stephens

Finally, we spoke to co-Editor-in-Chief of Research Involvement and Engagement, Richard Stephens. Richard is a survivor of two cancers, a heart emergency and various other health challenges. He has also acted as a carer for family members with both mental and physical conditions.

“It’s not actually about adding to our knowledge base for the sake of adding to the knowledge base. It’s about adding to the knowledge base in order to deliver better treatments, better care, more effective interventions, and longer, happier lives.”


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Doing research is good as people get cured of various illnesses and we may progress on various milestones medically speaking.


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