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The James Lind Alliance (JLA), launched just over a year ago, is named after the Scottish naval surgeon who conducted a randomised trial in scurvy, showing the superiority of citrus fruit over other treatments. The core aim of the JLA, which is a UK based organisation, is the proper involvement of patients, working together with clinicians (and not just doctors but nurses, therapists, and others), to identify important treatment uncertainties and to plan shared priorities in research (http://www.lindalliance.org).1 It was formed to address a number of shortcomings and problems in current therapeutic research.
There are mismatches between what researchers are researching and unanswered questions asked by patients and clinicians
Firstly, there are mismatches between what researchers are researching and unanswered questions asked by patients and clinicians; linked with this, there are mismatches between treatment outcomes studied by researchers and those regarded as important by patients. Doctors’ and patients’ priorities are not necessarily the same, as several studies have demonstrated. For example, in a survey of research publications on osteoarthritis of the knee and the preferences of patients and clinicians for the type of research needed, it was found that commercially funded drug trials dominated research. But what patients wanted was more research on knee replacement, education and advice, and physiotherapy, all of which were rated as more important …
Competing interests: I am a member of the James Lind Alliance Steering Group (as is the Editor).