Building the capacity of consumers to engage in research and healthcare improvement: practical suggestions and lessons learned – Webinar summary and recording
On 12 May Monash Partners Academic Health Science Centre partnered with the West Australian Health Translation Network (WAHTN) to present the webinar: Building the capacity of consumers to engage in research and healthcare improvement: practical suggestions and lessons learned. Presenters included Deb Langridge, Ben Horgan, Kelly Beer and Geoff Corcoran.
The key points from the webinar include:
- Consumer involvement is most effective and meaningful when it’s part of the research group’s culture/approach.
- Carefully consider the most appropriate person in your team to lead consumer involvement, getting the tone right at the outset is important and early meetings establish the credibility of the approach and the leader.
- Light touch direction/leadership seems to work well; a high level of interpersonal skill including active listening is essential from day one.
- Key to this (and key to getting started) is understanding where the value is for your group/project in involving consumers, e.g. if recruitment is challenging, involving consumers in project design will help with enrolment; if translation of outcomes is difficult, involve consumers in strategies to share results with the community.
- It’s a learning process, both for consumers and research groups. Don’t be put off if it feels difficult at first! It will take a while for you to develop a strong partnership. Communicate openly and honestly about challenges and be ok with changing direction or ways of working in response to feedback.
- Consumers will often contribute insights that we just haven’t thought about in our research or clinical ‘bubbles’. Make sure that you have established ways to communicate where consumers can provide honest critique.
- Be creative – in research we are busy innovating, but often reluctant to move outside of the traditional methods for delivery of research projects. Working with consumers can open up new possibilities and drive improvements in approaches, particularly utilising digital technologies to share study information and improve accessibility.
- Lean on the resources and expertise available to support you to get started/build your consumer involvement activities. You can view the webinar here