BACKGROUND: Researchers are being urged to involve patients in the design and conduct of studies in health care with limited insight at present into their needs, abilities or interests. This is particularly true in the field of reproductive health care where many conditions such as pregnancy, menopause and fertility problems involve women who are otherwise healthy.
OBJECTIVE: To ascertain the feasibility of involving patients and members of the public in research on women's reproductive health care (WRH).
SETTING: University and tertiary care hospital in north-east Scotland; 37 women aged 18-57.
METHOD: Four focus groups and one individual interview were audio-recorded and verbatim transcripts analysed thematically by two researchers using a grounded theory approach.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Most participants were interested in WRH, but some participated to promote a health issue of special concern to them. Priorities for research reflected women's personal concerns: endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, menopause, fertility risks of delaying parenthood and early post-natal discharge from hospital. Women were initially enthusiastic about getting involved in research on WRH at the design or delivery stage, but after discussion in focus groups, some questioned their ability to do so or the time available to commit to research. None of the respondents expected payment for any involvement, believing that the experience would be rewarding enough in itself.
CONCLUSIONS: Involving patients and public in research would include different perspectives and priorities; however, recruiting for this purpose would be challenging.
- focus group
- public involvement
- women's health research