Trials 2016 07 2917() 376 doi 10.1186/s13063-016-1488-9
Patient and public involvement (PPI) in studies carried out by the UK Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit (MRC CTU) at University College London varies by research type and setting. We developed a series of case studies of PPI to document and share good practice.
We used purposive sampling to identify studies representing the scope of research at the MRC CTU and different approaches to PPI. We carried out semi-structured interviews with staff and patient representatives. Interview notes were analysed descriptively to categorise the main aims and motivations for involvement; activities undertaken; their impact on the studies and lessons learned.
We conducted 19 interviews about ten case studies, comprising one systematic review, one observational study and 8 randomised controlled trials in HIV and cancer. Studies were either open or completed, with start dates between 2003 and 2011. Interviews took place between March and November 2014 and were updated in summer 2015 where there had been significant developments in the study (i.e. if the study had presented results subsequent to the interview taking place). A wide range of PPI models, including representation on trial committees or management groups, community engagement, one-off task-focused activities, patient research partners and participant involvement had been used. Overall, interviewees felt that PPI had a positive impact, leading to improvements, for example in the research question; study design; communication with potential participants; study recruitment; confidence to carry out or complete a study; interpretation and communication of results; and influence on future research.
A range of models of PPI can benefit clinical studies. Researchers should consider different approaches to PPI, based on the desired impact and the people they want to involve. Use of multiple models may increase the potential impacts of PPI in clinical research.