Stepping outside the screen: Reflections on our first face-to-face (rather than remote) PPI meeting
Stephanie Tierney, Debra Westlake
13 November 2022
In October 2022, we met with the study’s PPI group in-person. Meetings of the group up until this point had been online. It was great to be able to offer them lunch and to have time at the beginning for some proper catching up. There was a lot of joyful chatter as those present shared their news over sandwiches and sausage rolls. Conversation continued as we invited our PPI contributors to take part in some activities related to our study.
What comes to mind?
First, we asked PPI contributors to consider three key concepts that we have seen in the data we have collected to date. They were asked to write words/phrases that came to mind when seeing these concepts. The table below shows some of the things they wrote.
The activities continued as we asked our PPI contributors to work together to develop IF-THEN-BECAUSE statements on the topic of patient readiness and social prescribing. We shared with them some short, anonymised data extracts from interviews we had conducted for the study. Those present threw themselves into working with the data and shared with us a range of thoughts. Here is a selection of IF-THEN-BECAUSE statements that they put together in small groups:
The meeting ended with a discussion about how link workers were being implemented in primary care. PPI contributors talked about the potential dangers of the link worker role being too broad in nature. They suggested that this could lead to link workers being overstretched and feeling undervalued. They added that it may leave patients feeling that their needs were not really understood. However, it was acknowledged that such broadness may be necessary given the range of issues that link workers help people to address.
As a research team, we really enjoyed being able to meet with and talk to the PPI group in-person. Remote meetings make it harder to do activities like those we were able to run in-person. When meeting online, it could also be difficult, at times, to hear a range of voices as everyone had to take turns to speak. In the activities for our in-person meeting, we broke into small groups making it easier for all present to have their say and to contribute. Feedback from the PPI contributors suggested they liked this hands-on involvement and sharing of ideas. Therefore, we plan to hold our next PPI meeting in-person again. There was much more of a social feel to the meeting, as well as it being a productive way of helping us to see our data from different angles. As always, we are immensely grateful to our PPI contributors for their ongoing support and insights on this project.
The study mentioned in this blog is funded by a grant from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR130247). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR, the Department of Health and Social Care, or the authors' host institution.
What to read next
Street-level bureaucrats: Ideas from Lipsky applied to the role of social prescribing link workers
11 March 2022
In this blog, Stephanie Tierney, Senior Researcher and Departmental Lecturer, Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford, shares details of the latest study that aims to explore and explain the link worker role in primary care, and highlights the concept of 'Street-Level Bureaucracy', proposed by Michael Lipsky to better understand this role.
Who creates the interventions that social prescribing link workers refer to and what social programmes are appropriate for whom?
17 October 2022
In this blog, Steven Markham, research fellow at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford, reflects on experiences of designing health promotion interventions to inform current and future policy.