What is Consumer and Community Involvement?
Consumer and community involvement (CCI) in healthcare refers to the active partnership between researchers, health professionals and those affected by or who may benefit from the research or healthcare improvement.
Consumer and community involvement is about projects being carried out with or by consumers and community members rather than to, about or for them.
Consumers, relevant communities, organisations, services and settings (e.g., community health centres, hospitals, cultural groups) can play a significant and valuable role in informing research and healthcare improvement initiatives.
Robust consumer and community involvement is important in all types of research including discovery/laboratory based research, clinical research, applied research, and health services/health systems innovation and improvement initiatives. There are many different ways to involve and engage consumers and the community when conducting research and/or healthcare improvement projects. A flexible approach is recommended whereby methods can be applied based on the nature of the project. Consumer and community involvement becomes increasingly important in applied research where the focus is finding solutions to specific problems.
Increasingly, health researchers, practitioners and organisations are required to demonstrate the level of consumer and the community involvement in their work; by applying consumer and community involvement to all aspects of healthcare research and interventions.
However, if research and healthcare improvement efforts are to truly address the needs and priorities of the community, our aim must be genuine and meaningful engagement with all stakeholders. This includes involving consumers and front-line clinicians at the very beginning, to understand the problem/issue from multiple perspectives.
Starting with the end users, including those with lived experience of the health system, and working in partnership to undertake consumer and community prioritised research and healthcare improvement is the ultimate goal.
In the following video, Dr Magdalena Skrybant, describes 'What is Consumer and Community Involvement.'
It is a truth universally acknowledged by policy makers, researchers and research funding bodies that patients and the public should be 'involved' in research, though there are different perspectives on what such involvement should look like.