Could involving patients and the public in patient safety improve outcomes?
Serious clinical and service failings in the UK and internationally have increased the calls for patients and the public to be engaged in healthcare to improve patient safety. Stronger patient and public involvement (PPI) in the organisation and delivery of healthcare is now central to health reform in the UK and has been reflected in evidence which shows that when patients and the public are involved they can make a difference to healthcare delivery and planning. However, there is still uncertainty about what involvement is, how it should be done and how to support individuals to genuinely influence decision-making.
A research project adopted by CLAHRC South London, ‘Developing and understanding the impact of diverse patient and public involvement in patient safety improvement activities’, will help patients to become involved in improving patient safety by working with a diverse range of service users and then evaluating the impact of their involvement in improving safety within NHS trusts.
The project will include a literature review and participatory action research (where patients and researchers reflect and jointly agree actions in conducting research). Qualitative methods such as observation and interviews will be used – as well as strategies for feedback of findings, reflection on their meaning, and implications for subsequent stages of research.
How will patients be involved?
A diverse range of patients and the public will be recruited, trained and supported by health professionals or researchers. The research will develop and pilot some actions to explore how people can best be involved in different patient safety activities. Findings from the research will meet local strategic and national policy objectives connected to patient safety and increase patient and public involvement (PPI) and the patient voice in patient safety in partnership with health professionals.
Josephine Ocloo, Health Foundation improvement science researcher leading this research at King’s College London says: ‘I will be looking at the factors that prevent patients from being involved in patient safety and what support would empower them. I will be finding ways to measure their involvement and seeing how their involvement impacts on patient safety.’
This project was adopted by CLAHRC South London in October 2016 and is funded by the Health Foundation. It will be completed in 2018
For further information read - From tokenism to empowerment progressing patient and public involvement in healthcare improvement.
NHS England and the Health Foundation held an event in January 2018 to explore equality and diversity in participation can be mainstreamed in quality, safety and experience processes. Following the event, Dr Ocloo also wrote a comment piece for the HSJ on this issue. Read more