SPECIAL COMMUNICATION| Volume 103, ISSUE 8, P1684-1692, August 2022

Patient-Centered Framework for Rehabilitation Research in Outpatient Settings

Published:March 16, 2022DOI:


      Conducting high-quality clinical research is dependent on merging scientific rigor with the clinical environment. This is often a complex endeavor that may include numerous barriers and competing interests. Overcoming these challenges and successfully integrating clinical research programs into clinical practice settings serving rehabilitation outpatients is beneficial from both a logistical perspective (eg, supports efficient and successful research procedures) and the establishment of a truly patient-centered research approach. Leveraging our experience with navigating this research-clinical care relationship, this article (1) proposes the Patient-Centered Framework for Rehabilitation Research, a model for integrating patient-centered research in an outpatient clinical setting that incorporates a collaborative, team-based model encompassing patient-centered values, as well as strategies for recruitment and retention, with a focus on populations living with disabilities or chronic diseases; (2) describes application of this framework in a comprehensive specialty multiple sclerosis center with both general strategies and specific examples to guide adaptation and implementation in other settings; and (3) discusses the effect of the framework as a model in 1 center, as well as the need for additional investigation and adaptation for other populations. The 5 interconnected principles incorporated in the Framework and which prioritize patient-centeredness include identifying shared values, partnering with the clinical setting, engaging with the population, building relationships with individuals, and designing accessible procedures. The Patient-Centered Framework for Rehabilitation Research is a model presented as an adaptable roadmap to guide researchers in hopes of not only improving individual patients’ experiences but also the quality and relevance of rehabilitation research as a whole. Future investigation is needed to test the Framework in other settings.


      List of abbreviations:

      MS (multiple sclerosis), NMSS (National Multiple Sclerosis Society), UW MS Center (UW Medicine Multiple Sclerosis Center)
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