According to The Healthcare Improvement Studies (THIS) Institute at the University of Cambridge, there has been a growth in patient and public involvement (PPI) in research over the last few years. They were interested in the evidence around what works, how and why so they commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a rapid review of the evidence base on PPI in research.

RAND Europe are a not for profit research institute that helps to improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. Their report ‘Patient and public involvement and engagement in research; enabling meaningful contributions’ aims to support organisations and initiatives seeking to involve patients and the public in research in a meaningful and effective way.

They conduced a rapid evidence assessment and interviews with experts, and examined why and how patients and the public get involved with research, what enables meaningful involvement, associated challenges and potential enabling mechanisms, the impact of PPI, and the evaluation of this activity.

Based on these insights, the report makes the following recommends for engaging patients and the public in healthcare research:

  • Think carefully about who to involve and why.
  • Ensure roles of PPI contributors are clear and well communicated.
  • Ensure that PPI contributors are well informed and supported to effectively engage.
  • Think about ethical considerations.
  • Build in monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
  • Report on the methods used to engage patients and the public and on involvement outcomes.
  • Design efforts to recruit and retain patient and public contributors in a way that reflects the diverse factors which motivate them.
  • Consider the mix of approaches that will allow for effective awareness raising and recruitment.
  • Enable engagement through a mix of levers.

The full report can be downloaded here or from RAND’s website.