Involving members of the public in the development of Health Technology Assessments (HTAs) has scientific and public value (1) but the most common form of involvement in HTA remains collection of people's views in the form of data (2). Involving members of the public in shaping the research is rare due to perceived time or resource constraints (3). Our research aimed to; (i) develop tailored meeting formats for public involvement in a lung cancer screening HTA, (ii) capture views on lung cancer screening using a community drop in format (iii) explore how different groups of public contributors, with various prior experience of involvement, participated in the HTA consultation process.
The involvement included three separate public meetings and a drop-in session at a community centre. Meeting formats were specifically tailored to meet the needs of the lung cancer screening HTA while drawing on previous patient and public involvement (PPI) work in relevant disciplines. All meetings were audio recorded and observed using a structured form. This data is currently being analysed using a combination of inductive and thematic analysis.
The qualitative research data on PPI processes was collected in November 2016. The paper will present results from our full analysis. At present, we note that while limited time was available to explain HTA to participants, this did not hamper the discussions’ relevance to the HTA work. Participants shared personal stories irrespective of whether they knew each other from before. People drew on own and others’ experiences when discussing outcomes of importance to this HTA.
Prior involvement in research or specific research methods training may not be necessary for public involvement in HTA. This has implications for involving diverse or “hard to reach” groups, without high levels of associated cost.