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Remote working in patient public involvement in health and social care research - responding to Covid-19 and rising health inequalities

Funder: UK Research and InnovationProject code: ES/V015680/1
Funded under: ESRC Funder Contribution: 174,204 GBP

Remote working in patient public involvement in health and social care research - responding to Covid-19 and rising health inequalities

Description

This study has been prompted by the shift to non-face-to-face - remote - forms of working in patient public involvement and engagement (PPIE) brought on by Covid-19 prevention measures (such as social distancing). Working remotely includes using digital technologies such as: online conferencing software (Zoom, Microsoft Teams), emails, telephone calls and social media (WhatsApp, Facebook). Due to measures such as shielding and social distancing the usual ways of involving the public in research that included face-to-face meetings and events are not possible, and even with the eventual easing of lockdown, remote working is likely to continue. This creates particular challenges for ensuring access and engagement from all parts of society in health and social care research. There is a well-documented digital divide between those who use or have access to digital technologies and those who do not. This digital divide reflects the existing socio-economic inequalities, and PPIE that takes place remotely has the potential to further exclude already disadvantaged groups. This project aims to facilitate and improve ways of doing PPIE remotely and increase the diversity of public contributors involved in health and social care research. Our objectives are to: 1. Understand the barriers and facilitators to remote working, by: a. Exploring public contributors and PPIE professionals' experiences of remote PPIE. b. Exploring public contributors' preferences for different types of remote working. 2. Develop mechanisms for implementing improvements in remote working and ways to increase diversity in PPIE by: a. Conducting a rapid review of research and 'how to guides'. b. Develop training packages. We will recruit public contributors involved in research projects across the UK: the NIHR, charities, universities and other research organisations and people involved professionally with PPIE. This is a mixed-methods study with: surveys, qualitative interviews, and a discrete choice experiment. We will produce an analysis of how remote working in PPIE is affected by socio-economic and health inequalities, make recommendations for improving practice and develop training packages.

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