April 5, 2019

Patient involvement in clinical trials: motivation and expectations differ between patients and researchers involved in a trial on urinary tract infections

Plain English summary


Patients should be involved in the design, conduct and dissemination of research that affects them. Patient involvement leads to empowerment and enhances the quality of research. Differing motives and expectations between researchers and patients involved can hamper involvement. We wanted to learn more about patients’ and researchers’ motives and expectations in order to improve the benefits of involvement for all parties. We implemented a patient board with ten patients and five researchers for a trial on urinary tract infections (UTIs). We asked each patient and researcher about his or her motivation and expectations regarding the patient board. We found that patients’ motivations included the wish to improve the treatment of UTIs, to support patient involvement as a principle, and to enhance the benefit of others. Furthermore they were interested in learning how a patients’ board works and in exchanging with peers and scientists. In addition, a (modest) monetary incentive for involvement was welcomed.Researchers were motivated by the possibility to improve research and to contribute to the empowerment of patients. They also wanted to enhance their career opportunities, to learn more about patient involvement and to meet the increasing demand for it. Some patients expressed insecurity about their roles and tasks in the patient board. Among the researchers, some envisaged a rather passive role for themselves in the patient board while others expected to take over a more active role. Researchers emphasized that the ways and the means of communication between the researchers and the patients should be explicitly discussed.