Public and patient involvement (PPI) in research means research carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them.  Involvement in research means, for example, when patients and members of the public work in partnership with a research team to:

  • decide what issue or question a research study will focus on 
  • provide early input into the design of research studies
  • guide the research by becoming a member a study steering committee
  • work with researchers to develop clear, understandable, patient information material
  • share the results of the research with the public and patients, policy makers and doctors or other people in the health services

Why is PPI important?

Patients draw on their lived experience and make judgements based on their understanding of their condition. The contributions of patients, carers or other members of the public provide a different perspective from those of the research team, doctors or other healthcare professionals. Patients are experts by experience, living with a condition: she who wears the shoes, know where they pinch. They may have different aspirations about what needs to be improved (researchers call these study outcomes), perhaps outcomes that healthcare professionals and researchers may not have considered.