3 February 2023 

A new log from People in Health West of England aims to capture the impacts of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI). PPI is a vital part of all kinds of health research, but often it is difficult to quantify and capture its impact.

The team of researchers and public contributors developed the log to improve PPI practices through regular reflection, learning and feedback. The log is a set of questions for researchers and public contributors about the PPI activities that took place. This gives them an opportunity to reflect and report on the learnings and outcomes from these activities.

The evidence captured in the impact log captures both the public contributor’s and researcher’s perspective. It sheds light on the process of involvement, what worked and what didn’t, leading to improved ways of working together. It also contributes to the understanding of the impacts of public involvement in various contexts.

The impact log was created following a systematic review of the existing tools and resources that capture the impact of public involvement. The review revealed the need for a simple framework so researchers and public contributors could reflect on their involvement activities.

The team worked together to create a paper template first (Word doc). They have now developed it as an online Microsoft Form. This makes the log more accessible and the information is stored in one place, although the paper version is still available for those who want it. Researchers using the log should discuss with public contributors when making the decision about whether to use the online or paper version.

The PPI log is the brainchild of Dr Noreen Hopewell-Kelly, PPI Fellow at People in Health West of England and the University of the West of England. She said:

“Public contributors often tell me that they want to know how their involvement made a difference. We know that PPI can make a huge difference to health research, but often its direct impacts go uncaptured. 

“I realised there was a potential gap in the tools and resources out there to help capture this important information. We hope that this new log will be useful to both PPI professionals and public contributors alike.”

Adele Webb, a public contributor who has used the log to reflect on her involvement, said:

“I think the impact log is easy to use. It doesn’t ask for an onerous amount of work and has a simple format. It doesn’t feel daunting.

“When I completed it, it helped me to focus and clarify my thinking in a more helpful way than before, both in terms of how effective the PPI had been and, very importantly, the learning points. It provided a good basis for a dialogue with the PPI lead.

“I found it a supportive and useful process, both for the team involved and for personal development.”

How to access and use the PPI impact log

You can download the PPI impact log below, but if you need any help, please email enquiries@phwe.org.uk.

Further information 

About the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit [HPRU] in Behavioural Science and Evaluation at the University of Bristol

The NIHR HPRU in Behavioural Science and Evaluation at University of Bristol is one of 14 HPRUs across England, part of a £58.7 million investment by the NIHR to protect the health of the nation.

The NIHR HPRU in Behavioural Science and Evaluation is a partnership between the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and University of Bristol, in collaboration with MRC Biostatistics Research Unit at the University of Cambridge and University of the West of England.

Each NIHR HPRU undertakes high quality research that is used by UKHSA to keep the public safe from current and emerging public health threats.

About the NIHR

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is the nation’s largest funder of health and care research. The NIHR:

  • funds, supports and delivers high quality research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care
  • engages and involves patients, carers and the public in order to improve the reach, quality and impact of research
  • attracts, trains and supports the best researchers to tackle the complex health and care challenges of the future
  • invests in world-class infrastructure and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services
  • partners with other public funders, charities and industry to maximise the value of research to patients and the economy.

The NIHR was established in 2006 to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research, and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. In addition to its national role, the NIHR supports applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries, using UK aid from the UK government.