Glossary of Terms

Use this handy glossary to define terms and decipher acronyms that you may encounter on our website. These definitions are used by us (the BC SUPPORT Unit) and may be somewhat different from those used by other organizations involved with patient-oriented research.

A guide containing frequently-used acronyms can be found here.

For more terms and definitions, please see the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Jargon Buster.

Capacity-building: Increasing the ability of individuals, organizations and systems to perform appropriate functions effectively, efficiently and sustainably.

Client: User of SUPPORT Unit services, including individual or groups of patients, providers, decision makers, researchers, and members of research teams.

Clinical trial: A research study that prospectively assigns humans to one or more interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes. Traditionally conducted in idealized settings to give an intervention, its best chance to demonstrate a beneficial effect. Often involves narrow patient populations, well-controlled settings, interventions delivered by “experts,” close monitoring during study follow-up and emphasizes one “primary” outcome.

Clinical trial methodology: The procedures used to minimize bias, maximize efficiency, and enhance generalizability. Includes study design (randomization, blinding, number of patients needed, etc.), study processes/operations (recruiting, consenting & following-up patients, outcome assessment and capture, etc.) and study analysis and reporting (estimating impact and uncertainty, supporting decision-making, etc.)

Health system decision makers (decision makers): Individuals who make decisions about, or influence, health policies or practices.

Knowledge translation (KT): A dynamic and iterative process that includes synthesis, dissemination, exchange, and ethically-sound application of knowledge to improve the health of Canadians.

KT broker: Individuals who engage with diverse stakeholders (researchers and research users) at various points in the research cycle for the purpose of increasing the use of health research evidence in practice, policy and further research.

KT science (Canada) or dissemination and implementation (D&I) science (US): The study of knowledge translation.

Knowledge users: Patients, decision makers, practitioners or researchers – anyone who puts research evidence to use.

Patients: Anyone who has experience with the health care system and/or personal experience of a health issue, and informal caregivers, including family and friends.

Patient-centred: Prioritizing patient values and preferences.

Patient engagement in research: Meaningful and active collaboration in governance, priority setting, conducting research and knowledge translation. Depending on the context, patient-oriented research may also engage people who bring the collective voice of specific, affected communities.

Patient-oriented research:  Research that engages patients as partners and focuses on patient-identified priorities with the goals of improving patient experiences, health outcomes and the health system.

Patient-reported experience measure (PREM): Self-report instruments used to obtain patients’ appraisals of their health care experience (patients’ factual account of what they did or did not experience) and satisfaction (patients’ subjective evaluation of their care experience) with the quality of care and services.

Patient-reported outcome measure (PROM): Assesses how care provided by the health system is affecting the health and quality of life of patients. That is, PROMs capture the patients’ perspective on whether the services provided changed their health and sense of well-being.

Providers: Paid caregivers who deliver health services directly to patients.

Real world clinical trials (RWCTs): A trial intended to answer how well interventions work in the real world. Seeks to include broad patient population, deliver interventions in usual care settings with minimal extra resources, and evaluate multiple outcomes that are important to patients.

Research: Systematic investigations or inquiries designed to produce knowledge that may be applied to other settings or cases.

Research team members: Individuals who support the conduct or implementation of research.

Researchers: Individuals trained to conduct systematic investigations to generate new knowledge.