It's taken more than a year, about 60 hours of face-to-face time, and countless hours on e-mail, for each of the 15 high-powered members on the working group of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.
There have been drafts, and re-writes and countless iterations. Two university focus groups took it apart, it was revised, and then it went out for public comment. The 600 responses each were analyzed and categorized, resulting in more changes, more editing.
"We spent a ton of time to get this right," David Flum, MD, a surgeon at the University of Washington Medical Center who led the committee's effort, tells me. "All different perspectives were engaged."
As of Monday, finally, the big long project is finished: PCORI's Board of Governors met in Baltimore and voted approval of its first definition of "patient-centered outcomes research," until now a patchwork of phrases and concepts.
And it's only 210 words long.