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Journal Description

The Journal's mission is to transform the culture of medicine by providing an evidence base for participatory health and medicine. It aims to advance both science and practice, focusing on six content areas: research articles, editorials, narratives, case reports, reviews, and updates on related research in other media. It explores how participation affects outcomes, resources, and relationships in healthcare; which interventions increase participation; and the types of evidence that provide the most reliable answers.

JoPM was self-published between 2009-2017 by the Society of Participatory Medicine, publishing over 200 peer-reviewed articles (Archive of pre-2017 articles). Since 2017, the journal is now proudly published by JMIR Publications, with the Society retaining editorial control (see joint SPM/JMIR Press Release).

All articles submitted after August 2017 are carefully copyedited and typeset, and XML-tagged for submission in PubMed Central and PubMed.

There are no publishing charges for unfunded research. There is a modest Article Processing Fee ($1500) in case of acceptance for grant-funded research or where authors have access to an institutional open access funds, e.g. COMPACT/COPE signatories. 


Recent Articles:

  • Source: Unsplash; Copyright: Thomas Drouault; URL:; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Personalizing Value in Cancer Care: The Case for Incorporating Patient Preferences Into Routine Clinical Decision Making


    Despite growing research demonstrating the potential for shared decision making (SDM) to improve health outcomes, patient preferences—including financial trade-offs—are still not routinely incorporated into health care decision making. As the US health care delivery system transitions to rewarding value-based care, the question of “value to whom?” assumes greater importance. To achieve the goals of value-based care, the patient voice must be incorporated into clinical decision making by embedding SDM as a routine part of clinical practice. Identified as a priority by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), SDM-related measures and initiatives have already been integrated into CMS’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) demonstration projects (eg, the Oncology Care Model and Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative) and value-based payment programs (eg, the Merit-based Incentive Payment System, Medicare Shared Savings Program) to incentivize more proactive SDM engagement between patients and their providers. Furthermore, CMS has also integrated formal shared decision-making encounters into coverage and reimbursement policies (eg, for implantable cardioverter defibrillators), demonstrating a growing interest in SDM and its potential for eliciting and promoting the integration of patient preferences into the clinical decision-making process. In addition to increasing policy efforts to promote SDM, we need more research investments aimed at understanding how to optimize the science and practice of meaningful SDM. The current landscape and proposed road map for next steps in research, outlined in this review article, will help ensure the transition of pilots and research projects regarding the implementation of SDM into sustainable solutions.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: N i c o l a; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Your Patient Has a New Health App? Start With Its Data Source


    Recent regulatory and technological advances have enabled a new era of health apps that are controlled by patients and contain valuable health information. These health apps will be numerous and use novel interfaces that appeal to patients but will likely be unfamiliar to practitioners. We posit that understanding the origin of the health data is the most meaningful and versatile way for physicians to understand and effectively use these apps in patient care. This will allow providers to better support patients and encourage patient engagement in their own care.

  • Source: Pexels; Copyright: Dương Nhân; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Patient Perspective of Cognitive Symptoms in Major Depressive Disorder: Retrospective Database and Prospective Survey Analyses


    Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common and burdensome condition. The clinical understanding of MDD is shaped by current research, which lacks insight into the patient perspective. Objective: This two-part study aimed to generate data from PatientsLikeMe, an online patient network, on the perception of cognitive symptoms and their prioritization in MDD. Methods: A retrospective data analysis (study 1) was used to analyze data from the PatientsLikeMe community with self-reported MDD. Information on patient demographics, comorbidities, self-rated severity of MDD, treatment effectiveness, and specific symptoms of MDD was analyzed. A prospective electronic survey (study 2) was emailed to longstanding and recently active members of the PatientsLikeMe MDD community. Study 1 analysis informed the objectives of the study 2 survey, which were to determine symptom perception and prioritization, cognitive symptoms of MDD, residual symptoms, and medication effectiveness. Results: In study 1 (N=17,166), cognitive symptoms were frequently reported, including “severe” difficulty in concentrating (28%). Difficulty in concentrating was reported even among patients with no/mild depression (80%) and those who considered their treatment successful (17%). In study 2 (N=2525), 23% (118/508) of patients cited cognitive symptoms as a treatment priority. Cognitive symptoms correlated with depression severity, including difficulty in making decisions, concentrating, and thinking clearly (rs=0.32, 0.36, and 0.34, respectively). Cognitive symptoms interfered with meaningful relationships and daily life tasks and had a profound impact on patients’ ability to work and recover from depression. Conclusions: Patients acknowledge that cognitive dysfunction in MDD limits their ability to recover fully and return to a normal level of social and occupational functioning. Further clinical understanding and characterization of MDD for symptom prioritization and relapse risk due to residual cognitive impairment are required to help patients return to normal cognitive function and aid their overall recovery.

  • Patient and family advisory group. Source: Image created by Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Meaningful Partnerships: Stages of Development of a Patient and Family Advisory Council at a Family Medicine Residency Clinic


    Background: Partnering with patients and families is a crucial step in optimizing health. A patient and family advisory council (PFAC) is a group of patients and family members working together collaboratively with providers and staff to improve health care. Objective: This study aimed to describe the creation of a PFAC within a family medicine residency clinic. To understand the successful development of a PFAC, challenges, potential barriers, and positive outcomes of a meaningful partnership will be reported. Methods: The stages of PFAC development include leadership team formation and initial training, PFAC member recruitment, and meeting launch. Following a description of each stage, outcomes are outlined and lessons learned are discussed. PFAC members completed an open-ended survey and participated in a focus group interview at the completion of the first year. Interviewees provided feedback regarding (1) favorite aspects or experiences, (2) PFAC impact on a family medicine clinic, and (3) future projects to improve care. Common themes will be presented. Results: The composition of the PFAC consisted of 18 advisors, including 8 patient and family advisors, 4 staff advisors, 4 resident physician advisors, and 2 faculty physician advisors. The average meeting attendance was 12 members over 11 meetings in the span of the first year. A total of 13 out of 13 (100%) surveyed participants were satisfied with their experience serving on the PFAC. Conclusions: PFACs provide a platform for patient engagement and an opportunity to drive home key concepts around collaboration within a residency training program. A framework for the creation of a PFAC, along with lessons learned, can be utilized to advise other residency programs in developing and evaluating meaningful PFACs.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: Katikati College; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Application of Community-Engaged Research to Inform the Development and Implementation of a Peer-Delivered Mobile Health Intervention for Adults With Serious...


    Background: Involving certified peer specialists in all phases of intervention development and research is a high priority to advance peer-delivered services. Certified peer specialists are individuals with a lived experience of a mental illness, and they are trained and accredited to provide Medicaid reimbursable mental health services. Community-engaged research can facilitate the development and implementation of peer-delivered interventions; however, little is known about the processes. We present our application of community-engaged research to inform the development and implementation of a peer-delivered mobile health (mHealth) intervention for adults with serious mental illness. Objective: The aim of this study was to present a framework that can be used as a guide for researchers and certified peer specialists to develop and implement peer-delivered mHealth interventions in community settings. Methods: Informed by principles of community-engaged research, we developed the Academic Researchers-Certified Peer Specialists mHealth Research Continuum. Principles of community-engaged research included in the Continuum include the following: (1) develop a clear understanding of the purpose, goal, and population involved in community change; (2) become knowledgeable about all aspects of the community; (3) interact and establish relationships with the community; (4) encourage community self-determination; (5) partner with the community; (6) respect community diversity and culture; (7) activate community assets and develop capacity; (8) maintain flexibility; and (9) commit to long-term collaboration. Results: Overall, 4 certified peer specialists participated in all phases of intervention development and research. Individuals who participated in the Academic Researchers-Certified Peer Specialists’ mHealth Research Continuum collaborated on 5 studies advancing peers’ roles in services delivery using mHealth and secured grant funding from a foundation to sustain their study. The Academic Researchers-Certified Peer Specialists’ mHealth Research Continuum has created a rare environment of inclusion by combining scientific expertise and certified peer specialists’ expertise to achieve a shared vision. Conclusions: This study delineates a process by which academic researchers and certified peer specialists participated in community-engaged research to develop and implement peer-delivered mHealth interventions in community settings.

  • ehealth, technology, and health. Source: iStock by Getty Images; Copyright: portishead1; URL:; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Participatory Methods to Engage Health Service Users in the Development of Electronic Health Resources: Systematic Review


    Background: When health service providers (HSP) plan to develop electronic health (eHealth) resources for health service users (HSU), the latter’s involvement is essential. Typically, however, HSP, HSU, and technology developers engaged to produce the resources lack expertise in participatory design methodologies suited to the eHealth context. Furthermore, it can be difficult to identify an established method to use, or determine how to work stepwise through any particular process. Objective: We sought to summarize the evidence about participatory methods and frameworks used to engage HSU in the development of eHealth resources from the beginning of the design process. Methods: We searched for studies reporting participatory processes in initial development of eHealth resources from 2006 to 2016 in 9 bibliographic databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Emcare, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, ACM Guide to Computing Literature, and IEEE Xplore. From 15,117 records initially screened on title and abstract for relevance to eHealth and early participatory design, 603 studies were assessed for eligibility on full text. The remaining 90 studies were rated by 2 reviewers using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool Version 2011 (Pluye et al; MMAT) and analyzed with respect to health area, purpose, technology type, and country of study. The 30 studies scoring 90% or higher on MMAT were included in a detailed qualitative synthesis. Results: Of the 90 MMAT-rated studies, the highest reported (1) health areas were cancer and mental disorders, (2) eHealth technologies were websites and mobile apps, (3) targeted populations were youth and women, and (4) countries of study were the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. Of the top 30 studies the highest reported participatory frameworks were User-Centered Design, Participatory Action Research Framework, and the Center for eHealth Research and Disease Management (CeHRes) Roadmap, and the highest reported model underpinning development and engagement was Social Cognitive Theory. Of the 30 studies, 4 reported on all the 5 stages of the CeHRes Roadmap. Conclusions: The top 30 studies yielded 24 participatory frameworks. Many studies referred to using participatory design methods without reference to a framework. The application of a structured framework such as the CeHRes Roadmap and a model such as Social Cognitive Theory creates a foundation for a well-designed eHealth initiative that ensures clarity and enables replication across participatory design projects. The framework and model need to be clearly articulated and address issues that include resource availability, responsiveness to change, and the criteria for good practice. This review creates an information resource for future eHealth developers, to guide the design of their eHealth resource with a framework that can support further evaluation and development. Trial Registration: PROSPERO CRD42017053838;

  • Video consultation with doctor (montage). Source: Flickr / Placeit; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Use of Video Consultations for Patients With Hematological Diseases From a Patient Perspective: Qualitative Study


    Background: The need for the use of telemedicine is expected to increase in the coming years. There is, furthermore, a lack of evidence about the use of video consultations for hematological patients, and how the use of video consultations is experienced from the patients’ perspective. Objective: This study aimed to identify patients’ experiences with the use of video consultations in place of face-to-face consultations, what it means to the patient to save the travel time, and how the roles between patients and health care professionals are experienced when using video consultation. This study concerns stable, not acutely ill, patients with hematological disease. Methods: The study was designed as an exploratory and qualitative study. Data were collected through participant observations and semistructured interviews and analyzed in a postphenomenological framework. Results: The data analysis revealed three categories: “Intimacy is not about physical presence,” “Handling technology,” and “Technology increases the freedom that the patients desire.” Conclusions: This study demonstrates what is important for patients with regards to telemedicine and how they felt about seeing health care professionals through a screen. It was found that intimacy can be mediated through a screen and physical presence is not as important to the patient as other things. The study further pointed out how patients valued being involved in the planning of their treatment. The patients also valued the freedom associated with telemedicine and actively took responsibility for their own course of treatment. Patients felt that video consultations allowed them to be free and active, despite their illness.

  • Source: iStock by Getty Images; Copyright: Monkey Business Images; URL:; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Spanish-Speaking Hispanic Patients’ Information-Sharing Preferences During Hospitalization: An Exploratory Pilot Study


    Background: Self-management of chronic conditions, such as cancer or diabetes, requires the coordination of care across multiple care settings. Current patient-centered, hospital-based care initiatives, including bedside nursing handoff and multidisciplinary rounds, often focus on provider information exchange and roles but fall short of the goals of participatory medicine, which recognize the right of patients to partner in their own care and play an active role in self-management. Objective: This study aimed to elicit Spanish-speaking Hispanic patients’ perspectives on the exchange and sharing of information during hospitalization. Methods: This exploratory pilot study incorporated a qualitative descriptive approach by using Spanish language focus groups, posthospitalization, to determine patient-identified information needs during hospitalization. Results: Participants preferred paper-based Spanish language medical information. Doctors and nurses were key information providers and communicated with participants verbally, usually with the assistance of a translator. Participants expressed a desire to be informed about medication and treatments, including side effects and why there were changes in medication during hospitalization. In addition, they expressed interest in knowing about the progress of their condition and when they could expect to go home. Emotional readiness to receive information about their condition and prognosis was identified as an individual barrier to asking questions and seeking additional information about their condition(s). Conclusions: Overall, participants shared positive experiences with providers during hospitalization and the usefulness of self-care instructions. Language was not recognized as a barrier by any of the participants. Nevertheless, future research on the influence of emotional readiness on the timing of medical information is needed.

  • Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    The Impact of Visualization Format and Navigational Options on Laypeople’s Perception and Preference of Surgery Information Videos: Randomized Controlled...


    Background: Patients need to be educated about possible treatment choices in order to make informed medical decisions. As most patients are medical laypeople, they find it difficult to understand complex medical information sufficiently to feel confident about a decision. Multimedia interventions such as videos are increasingly used to supplement personal consultations with medical professionals. Former research has shown that such interventions may have a positive effect on understanding, decision making, and emotional reactions. However, it is thus far unclear how different features of videos influence these outcomes. Objective: We aimed to examine the impact of visualization formats and basic navigational options in medical information videos about cruciate ligament surgery on recipients’ knowledge gain, emotions, attitude, and hypothetical decision-making ability. Methods: In a between-group randomized experiment (Study 1), 151 participants watched 1 of 4 videos (schematic vs realistic visualization; available vs unavailable navigational options). In a separate online survey (Study 2), 110 participants indicated their preference for a video design. All participants were medical laypeople without personal experience with a cruciate ligament rupture and were presented with a fictional decision situation. Results: In Study 1, participants who used navigational options (n=36) gained significantly more factual knowledge (P=.005) and procedural knowledge (P<.001) than participants who did not have or use navigational options (n=115). A realistic visualization induced more fear (P=.001) and disgust (P<.001) than a schematic video. Attitude toward the surgery (P=.02) and certainty regarding the decision for or against surgery (P<.001) were significantly more positive after watching the video than before watching the video. Participants who watched a schematic video rated the video significantly higher than that by participants who watched a realistic video (P<.001). There were no significant group differences with regard to hypothetical decision making and attitude toward the intervention. In addition, we did not identify any influence of the visualization format on knowledge acquisition. In Study 2, 58 of 110 participants (52.7%) indicated that they would prefer a schematic visualization, 26 (23.6%) preferred a realistic visualization, 17 (15.5%) wanted either visualization, and 9 (8.2%) did not want to watch a video at all. Of the participants who wanted to watch a video, 91 (90.1%) preferred to have navigational options, 3 (3.0%) preferred not to have navigational options, and 7 (6.9%) did not mind the options. Conclusion: Our study indicates that the perception of medical information videos is influenced by their design. Schematic videos with navigational options are the most helpful among all videos to avoid negative emotions and support knowledge acquisition when informing patients about an intervention. The visualization format and navigational options are important features that should be considered when designing medical videos for patient education. Trial Registration: Deutsches Register Klinischer Studien DRKS00016003; trial.HTML&TRIAL_ID=DRKS00016003 (Archived by WebCite at

  • Source: Public Domain; Copyright: Public Domain; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Patient Perspectives on the Challenges and Responsibilities of Living With Chronic Inflammatory Diseases: Qualitative Study


    Background: Collectively, chronic inflammatory diseases take a great toll on individuals and society in terms of participation restrictions, quality of life, and economic costs. Although prior qualitative studies have reported patients’ experiences and challenges living with specific diseases, few have compared the consequences of disease management in daily life across different types of inflammatory diseases in studies led by patient partners. Objective: The aim of this study was to identify the significant consequences of inflammatory arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel diseases on daily life and explore commonalities across diseases. Methods: A cross-sectional Web-based survey was designed by patient research partners and distributed by patient awareness organizations via their social media channels and by sharing a link in a newspaper story. One open-ended item asked about burdens and responsibilities experienced in daily life. Informed by narrative traditions in qualitative health research, we applied a thematic content analysis to participants’ written accounts in response to this item. This is an example of a study conceived, conducted, and interpreted with patients as research partners. Results: A total of 636 Canadians, with a median age band of 55-64 years, submitted surveys, and 80% of the respondents were women. Moreover, 540 participants provided written substantive responses to the open-ended item. Overall, 4 main narratives were generated: (1) daily life disrupted; (2) socioeconomic vulnerabilities; (3) stresses around visible, invisible, and hiding disabilities; and (4) actions aimed at staying positive. Ways in which participants experienced social stigma, pain and fatigue, balancing responsibilities, and worries about the future appeared throughout all 4 narratives. Conclusions: People living with chronic inflammatory diseases affecting joints, skin, and the digestive tract report important gaps between health, social, and economic support systems that create barriers to finding the services they need to sustain their health. Regardless of diagnosis, they report similar experiences navigating the consequences of lifelong conditions, which have implications for policy makers. There is a need for outcome measures in research and service delivery to address patient priorities and for programs to fill gaps created by the artificial administrative separation of health services, social services, and income assistance.

  • Source: US Army (Wesley P Elliott); Copyright: US Army; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Involving Citizen-Patients in the Development of Telehealth Services: Qualitative Study of Experts’ and Citizen-Patients’ Perspectives


    Background: Decisions regarding telehealth services in Quebec (Canada) have been largely technocratic by nature for the last 15 years, and the involvement of citizen-patients in the development of telehealth services is virtually nonexistent. In view of the societal challenges that telehealth raises, citizen-patient involvement could ensure more balance between evidence from traditional research methodologies and technical experts and the needs and expectations of populations in decisions about telehealth services. Objective: This study aimed to explore the perception of various stakeholders (decision makers, telehealth program and policy managers, clinicians, researchers, evaluators, and citizen-patients) regarding the involvement of citizen-patients in the development of telehealth services in Quebec. In particular, we explored its potential advantages, added value, obstacles, and challenges it raises for decision making. Methods: We used a qualitative research approach based on semistructured individual interviews, with a total of 29 key actors. Respondents were identified by the contact network method. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. A pragmatic content thematic analysis was performed. To increase the capacity for interpretation and analysis, we were guided by the principle of data triangulation. Results: Citizen-patient involvement in decision making is perceived more as a theoretical idea than as a practical reality in health care organizations or in the health system. There is very little connection between citizen involvement structures or patient and user groups and telehealth leaders. For the respondents, citizen-patient involvement in telehealth could increase the accountability and transparency of decision making and make it more pragmatic within an innovation-driven health system. This involvement could also make citizen-patients ambassadors and promoters of telehealth and improve the quality and organization of health services while ensuring they are more socially relevant. Challenges and constraints that were reported include the ambiguity of the citizen-patient, who should be involved and how, claimant citizen-patient, the risk of professionalization of citizen-patient involvement, and the gap between decision time versus time to involve the citizen-patient. Conclusions: This study provides a basis for future research on the potential of involving citizen-patients in telehealth. There is a great need for research on the issue of citizen-patient involvement as an organizational innovation (in terms of decision-making model). Research on the organizational predisposition and preparation for such a change becomes central. More efforts to synthesize and translate knowledge on public participation in decision making in the health sector, particularly in the field of technology development, are needed.

  • Subject participating in patient-centered design session. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND).

    Phase I of the Detecting and Evaluating Childhood Anxiety and Depression Effectively in Subspecialties (DECADES) Study: Development of an Integrated Mental...


    Background: Children with gastrointestinal symptoms have a very high rate of anxiety and depression. Rapid identification of comorbid anxiety and depression is essential for effective treatment of a wide variety of functional gastrointestinal disorders. Objective: The objective of our study was to determine patient and parent attitudes toward depression, anxiety, and mental health screening during gastroenterology (GI) visits and to determine patient and parent preferences for communication of results and referral to mental health providers after a positive screen. Methods: We augmented standard qualitative group session methods with patient-centered design methods to assess patient and parent preferences. We used a variety of specific design methods in these sessions, including card sorting, projective methods, experience mapping, and constructive methods. Results: Overall, 11 families (11 patients and 14 parents) participated in 2 group sessions. Overall, patients and their parents found integrated mental health care to be acceptable in the subspecialty setting. Patients’ primary concerns were for the privacy and confidentiality of their screening results. Patients and their parents emphasized the importance of mental health services not interfering with the GI visit and collaboration between the GI physician, psychologist, and primary care provider. Conclusions: Patients and their families are open to integrated mental health care in the pediatric subspecialty clinic. The next phase of the DECADES study will translate patient and parent preferences into an integrated mental health care system and test its efficacy in the pediatric GI office.

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