Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) and Engagement
Read an article by Biomechanics & Bioengineering Centre Versus Arthritis / Cardiff University PhD student, Jake Bowd, explaining his research and the importance of public and patient engagement
Last October I began a PhD at Cardiff University, in the School of Engineering’s Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Facility (MSKBRF); which undertakes biomechanical analysis research on behalf of the Centre. The main area of my research is defining the effectiveness of realignment surgery (known as high tibial osteotomy (HTO)); as knee malalignment is a known precursor to OA. The aim of my research is to establish whether realignment surgery as well as gait modifications can slow down OA progression; increasing the quality of life for the 8 million people suffering from the condition in the UK. In addition to my research I also collect data on patients undergoing total knee replacements, as well as healthy cohorts. As such I have a lot of contact time with participants. Accordingly, it is critically important for our research group to fully integrate patients and the public into the realm of research that we undertake here at Cardiff University. It is this enriched integration of patient and public engagement and involvement that will benefit researcher’s awareness and understanding of the condition. As such, I attended a Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) training session that was held in Cardiff on the 28th of March. Patient and Public Involvement can be defined as research that is carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ patients and those who have experience of a condition. The session was focused on working in small groups to discuss the importance of PPI when designing research projects. The main considerations that I took from this training session was: study designs incorporating PPI are likely to recruit much higher numbers, patient retention is likely to be higher if patients feel part of the whole process (rather than just a ‘subject’ in a study). Additionally, it was very apparent from the training session that PPI was founded on vast amount of research which outlines the importance of PPI. The main thing I took from the session was that it is never too early to incorporate those who live with OA into my research; getting ideas from those with the condition is a fundamental aspect of undertaking excellent and meaningful research. Prior to the training session I must admit I was naïve on just how important PPI is. As a direct consequence of this training session I have several PPI events I am going to investigate delivering. One such idea is to hold a Patient & Public Event in the MSKBRF. The research team can deliver talks to previous participants to feedback the analysis that has been undertaken to date which has led to peer-reviewed research papers and conference abstracts as a direct result of patient data we have collected. I would recommend other researchers to firstly read up on the importance of PPI. Secondly, I would suggest collaborating with colleagues to develop interesting ways to integrate patients into their research throughout the whole study design, data collection and analysis process.
Visit the Centre website for information on the work being undertaken https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/biomechanics-bioengineering-research-centre-versus-arthritis