The impact of patient engagement on trials and trialists in Ontario, Canada: An interview study with IMPACT awardees

Title: The impact of patient engagement on trials and trialists in Ontario, Canada: An interview study with IMPACT awardees
Authors: Nicholls, Stuart G.
Fox, Grace
Monfaredi, Zarah
Poole, Evelyn
Garritty, Chantelle
Maybee, Alies
Presseau, Justin
Shea, Beverley
Fergusson, Dean A.
Date: 2022-09-07
Abstract: Abstract Background A key component of patient-oriented research is the engagement of patients as partners in the design and conduct of health research. While there is now national infrastructure and networks to support the engagement of patients as partners, there remain calls for promising practices and success stories. In particular, there remains a keen interest in evaluating the impact that patient engagement has on health research studies. We aimed to investigate the impact that patient engagement had on health research conducted in Ontario, Canada. Methods Our sampling frame was studies that were awarded funding by the Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 principal investigators, members of research teams, and patient partners. Interviews explored the role of patient partners, the perceived impact of the patient engagement on the study, challenges faced, and advice for other researchers considering patient engagement. Data were analysed using the thematic analysis method with transcripts coded independently by two members of the study team. All coding and subsequent theme generation were discussed until consensus was achieved. Results There was variation in the methods used to engage patients and other stakeholders, the roles that patients and stakeholders occupied, and where they had input. Interviewees discussed two major areas of impact of patient engagement on research: impact on the study about which they were being interviewed, which tended to relate to improved relevancy of the research to the study population, and impact on themselves which led to changes in their own practice or approaches to future research. Identified challenges to patient engagement included: identifying and reaching patient advisors or patient partners, time-related challenges, and maintaining engagement over the course of the research. Conclusions There remains a need to further build out the concept of relevancy and how it may be operationalised in practice. Further, the longer-term impacts of patient engagement on researchers and research teams remains under-explored and may reveal additional elements for evaluation. Challenges to patient engagement remain, including identifying and maintaining engagement with partners that reflect the diversity of the population of interest.
Plain English summary We interviewed 10 individuals associated with studies that were funded through the Ontario Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) Unit. We asked them about how they had engaged patients, families or caregivers in their study, how this engagement had influenced their study, the challenges they faced, and advice for other researchers considering engaging with patients, families and caregivers. We found that patients had been engaged in a variety of ways and at different times. The changes brought about by the patient engagement varied between studies but tended to reflect an improvement in how relevant the study was to patients. Researchers also shared how engagement with patients, families, and caregivers had changed their approaches to future research. Key challenges facing researchers included finding partners that were appropriate for the study, as well making sure that the approach to engagement overcame issues such as financial or logistical barriers that could prevent patients, families or caregivers from partnering with the study.
CollectionPublications par les auteurs d'uOttawa publiƩs par BioMed Central // uOttawa authored publications from BioMed Central