Patient and Public Involvement: A Vital Part of the Research Process
Research plays a crucial role in advancing medicine and improving the lives of patients. The impact of research is enhanced when patients and the public are actively involved in the process. There are many examples where the research studies have focussed on extremely limited and non-diverse groups, and this has led to many problems. Patient and public involvement (PPI) refers to the participation of patients, carers, and the public in research, from the design to the dissemination of results.
Why is PPI Important?
PPI helps to ensure that research is relevant and responsive to the needs and experiences of the community and other beneficiaries. This helps to improve the quality and relevance of research studies, leading to better outcomes for patients. By giving the patients and public a voice and allowing their perspectives to be shared, results in increased trust in the research process and its outcomes. By involving patients and the public in the research process, the study design would, where practicable, address the specific needs and concerns of the community. This would result in better outcomes and a greater impact on public health. Additionally, PPI helps to increase access to research findings and treatments, as patients and the public voice helps ensure that the research is designed to be accessible and understandable to all.
Ways to Involve Patients and the Public in Research
Setting up an advisory group comprising patients and the public. This can provide valuable insights and perspectives on the research process and help adapt and critique methodologies.
Including patient and public representatives on research committees, steering groups and project management boards ensures that their perspectives are taken into account.
Engaging with local communities and patient groups can help to increase awareness of the research, beyond the project teams and management structure, and encouraging greater participation in the research.
Patients can be involved in the design of research studies to ensure the study is relevant and responsive to their needs and lived experiences.
Patients and the public should be kept informed of the results of research studies and given the opportunity to provide feedback and to ask questions.
PPI is an important aspect of the research process that helps to ensure that research is relevant, well-designed, and accessible to all. By involving patients and the public in the research process, the impact and outcomes of research studies can be greatly improved, leading to a better future for everyone. It is essential that researchers make PPI a priority and actively seek to involve patients and the public in the research process. The voice of the patient is a central tenet of PPI. However, what happens when there is a language barrier, or the participant is a member of a marginalised community – how can their voices be heard?
PPI at Westminster
Prof Ridge is taking the PPI approach in his current research, working with men and their mental health through to examining how to improve care for racially minoritised patients. On the other hand, Dr Tom Nadarzynski has undertaken important work in the use of digital technology and sexual health in the service of minoritised communities. Read more...
Research for health funders does not necessarily have to involve patient groups. In the spirit of PPI, Rachel Aldred, Professor of Transport and Director of the University of Westminster Active Travel Academy, instead engaged a Disabled People’s Organisation to co-design and carry out the research. Read more...
The Breast Cancer Cookbook was produced as an outcome of the work undertaken by Prof Miriam Dwek and Dr. Claire Robertson which is concerned with diet and lifestyle factors and breast cancer survival. The aim was to debunk some of the pseudoscience around this topic and to consider what patients had said about the side effects of treatment. Read more...
The University of Westminster, and the Health Innovation and Wellbeing Research Community are committed to elevating PPI in research to the forefront of our research strategy. Research should not be something left to the researchers but should include the beneficiaries. To achieve this, we will be implementing a comprehensive system of support, engaging with those in the University to provide purposeful education/resources to researchers so that the benefits of incorporating PPI into their work and grants becomes clear. Our goal is to foster meaningful partnerships with the members of the communities that our research seeks to benefit. Our aim is to ensure that PPI is not just a priority in the areas of Life Sciences and Psychology, but that it infuses across our many fields of research. Join us in revolutionizing the research landscape through the power of PPI.
Latest posts by Rafaela Tripalo (see all)
- Unlocking the Power of Public Engagement in Research: A Transformative Event at the University of Westminster - July 14, 2023
- Empowering Collaboration: Recap of the Impactful Research and Knowledge Exchange Event with Citizens UK - May 26, 2023
- PPI at Westminster: The Breast Cancer Cookbook - February 14, 2023