Tuesday 10 July 2018

Why do we, as patients, have to prove our worth?

Evidence of IMPACT is increasingly being mentioned when we talk about patient and public involvement.

But, why do we have to prove our worth? Why should we have to gather evidence to show the difference we have made? We don't expect the clinician, the statistician, the methodologist, the data manager to prove their worth in the research process. We don’t say - why are you here?

One of the first things most researchers do…is a literature review. They naturally want to find out what is known already. They often start with what is published in Peer Reviewed Journals. 

If there is NO mention of how patients and the public have been involved then in the reality of research there is NO Patient & Public Involvement. 

I exaggerate, but there is an element of truth that if there is no evidence then how do we know. The others, I mentioned have over years shown their value. We must do the same.

We make a real and tangible difference...

To Individual research studies
  • Enriching the reality of the research - the priorities, relevance, and value
  • Informing the design of the study - outcome measures, inclusion measures, Patient Information Leaflets
  • Improving the doing of the study - advice on where to promote and recruit, membership of trial management and even co-applicants
By talking about Research
  • Raising awareness about research in general through the Research Ambassadors initiative
  • Increasing access and provosinh more information about research 

For Patients, Public and Healthcare Organisations
  • By being Active in these changes
It is more than just making improvements to the research and doing studies.

It is about research under-pining and being a part of the normal patient pathway. My own story bears witness that the knowledge of research, experience of treatments and the patient discussing the options are the important elements.

It is about making a difference to the individual study and the researcher, the broader aspects of access and recruitment as well as the general direction of intertwining high quality research as part of good clinical practice.

We are seeing the movement of research from academia, though clinical care to being a serious patient asset.

We, as patients, should expect, seek and maybe sometimes demand more. 

Our questions should be about the research, the evidence as well as being able to participate. Some of the KEY Questions are highlighted in the box. 

Are we making a difference?

The following notes are based on a Workshop in Coventry - Impact is not just about counting things. We need the evidence in story form, photographs and videos about...

  • Before and after Patient Informational Leaflets - examples of the how language changes from medical to plain English, how the layout of a leaflet alters, the visual diagrams that have been added, maybe even the use of other media
  • Simple personal diaries asking people's expectations of being involved at the beginning of a project then at some intervals
  • Reporting of the why, what, how of the Involvement with illustrative instances of improvements
  • Preparing a simple evaluation sheet with grades to note information, knowledge, experience, confidence
  • Making a case study of a person or group's involvement
  • Booklets on the Involvement - CRUK
  • Social media summary around a particular discussion 

We must also ensure that the story of the involvement is mentioned in dissemination, on posters and in publications. 

Many of these changes are about the day to day PRACTICE yet we should also be looking at the shift in CULTURE (people's attitudes) and the CLIMATE (people's behaviours) 

We must see the Patients Included accreditation for every event.

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