The role and potential of patient and public involvement in a digital age is the subject of a new guide published by the AHSN Network.
Written by Hildegard Dumper, PPI Manager for the West of England AHSN, the guide explores the different ways AHSNs around the country are involving members of the public in healthcare innovation and the development of new technologies.
Three key areas of technology are considered:
- Technology for bringing together patient data.
- Technology for connecting directly with patients, including self-management and self-diagnosis.
- Technology for communicating and engaging with citizens, such as product or service design and crowdsourcing.
The guide seeks to make it easy for AHSNs to reflect on and choose the kind of citizen involvement suitable for the activity they are planning, and features a number of case studies from across the Network, such as the Datawell Project in Greater Manchester, use of the Lincus app for self-management in the North West, and the Florence Simple Telehealth interactive texting service, in use across the country.
Intended for use by the public, designers, clinicians and others, it will help colleagues and partners think through the different ways they can involve patients and the public in driving forward innovation.
As Hildegard Dumper explains: “This paper is by no means an exhaustive list of everything we are doing in this area. Instead it aims to kick-start conversations across the AHSNs on how we can strengthen the voice of the citizen and patient in our current digital activities. The end goal is to see genuine co-production with patients and the public as ‘the way AHSNs do things’.”
And as Simon Denegri, NIHR’s National Director for Patients, Carers and the Public, says in his foreword to the guide: “The most important partner in this endeavour will always be patients, carers and the public. Their early and ongoing involvement is essential to good research design.
“It will be their insights, experiences and ideas that will help drive forward innovation. They will be important agent provocateurs in ensuring innovation is adopted. Their challenge will also be important in reminding us that the future is as much about empathy as it is about coding.”