Making sense of consensus meetings – what happened next?

  • 27 April 2021

Dr Christin Hoffmann from our Surgical Innovation theme shares our new animation that helps public contributors make sense of consensus meetings.

In a previous post, I blogged about consensus meetings, and touched upon why we use them in the BRC’s Surgical Innovation theme and other research areas as well.

Consensus meetings are an important part of health research, as is the involvement of patients and the public. Bringing those two things together successfully has been a key goal for us, and we want to improve the way we do it.

Ensuring patients’ and public contributors’ views are heard is crucial if we are going to reach decisions that are relevant and meaningful to everyone involved in, or affected by, our research. But to get to this point, participants need to feel prepared: if we can help them feel more comfortable and confident in speaking up, their contribution will be even more valuable.

In October 2020, we ran three focus groups with 11 public contributors with varying previous experience of consensus meetings. We asked them how we could improve their experience before, during, and after a consensus meeting, and received some fantastic suggestions – thank you!

We sorted responses into 12 overall areas either for improvement, or requiring attention. We discussed every suggestion with the wider study team to agree which ones we could implement.

One suggestion was to make an animated video to help potential participants better understand what happens at a consensus meeting. So, with the help of our medical illustrator, Anni Skilton, we have now made a video which we hope explains clearly what a consensus meeting is and what it involves. We created the video with input from patient and public contributors, alongside other ‘Patient and Public Involvement’ experts.

Watch the video

We are continuing to implement the suggestions from the focus groups. Our next steps are to develop a jargon buster which is specific to surgical innovation, and publish a Q&A section on our website. In the meantime, visit our website to find out more ways patients and public contributors can get involved in research

Colleagues in the BRC’s Cardiovascular Disease theme have also been doing some exciting work on consensus meetings – look out for an update from them later this year!

We have since been working with other researchers to put together top tips for organising online consensus meetings. You can find this summary on the COMET initiative’s website alongside other useful tips for researchers who would like to plan consensus meetings.