International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleAn innovative toolkit: increasing the role and value of patient and public involvement in the dissemination of research findings
Type of ArticleOriginal Practice Development and Research
Author/sElaine McNichol and Paul Grimshaw
ReferenceVolume 4, Issue 1, Article 8
Date of PublicationMay 2014
Keywordsadoption, dissemination of research, innovation, patient and public involvement, relationships, toolkit

Background: Evidence of patient and public involvement (PPI) in health research dissemination is weak and the development of mechanisms to assist the adoption and diffusion of PPI outcomes into research findings, patient experience and clinical practice is at an early stage.

Aim: This paper seeks directly to address this weakness by increasing researchers’ awareness and understanding of the potential value of PPI in dissemination and identifying practical strategies that could improve the quality and impact of PPI by connecting the process with the wider innovation literature on adoption and diffusion.

The toolkit: Guidance for these strategies is provided in the form of a toolkit that elevates the importance of PPI in dissemination of research and blends it with good practice in diffusion of innovations. It highlights how planning for PPI and dissemination at each stage of the research cycle facilitates the diffusion of research findings, while generating a culture of knowledge exchange with important stakeholders.

Conclusions: Establishing and improving PPI dissemination in the research process has similarities with introducing any new innovation into a social context. Therefore, understanding and integrating insights from the literature on adoption and diffusion and linking them to PPI and the research cycle provides a different frame of reference for developing our approach in healthcare. Here we connect PPI to the adoption literature and suggest that a strong focus on the social nature of innovation will increase the reach and impact of research dissemination. This challenges the traditional research culture and suggests a need for a more open and continuous web of PPI relationships that are characterised by well balanced, timely contact and consist of appropriate and flexible interactions, planned into the whole research cycle.

Implications for practice: This paper highlights the value of taking a structured approach to PPI and the importance of investing time in developing productive PPI relationships at the beginning of a project. Similarly, dissemination should be planned for and undertaken at key points and in different ways throughout the process in order to maximise its potential impact. The key implications are the value of:

  • Widening the scope of PPI dissemination into the whole research cycle
  • Opening up routes to improved research impact through better quality patient involvement
  • Challenging the stereotypical relationship between researcher and patient
  • Introducing innovation adoption concepts into PPI dissemination

This article by Elaine McNichol and Paul Grimshaw is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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