Getting the public involved in science for Our Future Health
Our Future Health is an audacious project. It will be the UK’s largest ever health research programme, collecting information from millions of volunteers across the UK to create one of the most detailed pictures we’ve ever had of people’s health.
The goal is nothing short of transforming the prevention, detection and treatment of conditions such as dementia, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Claremont delivered a rigorous programme of public involvement for Our Future Health to help shape the project from its earliest stages, as well as crafting messages and participant materials to support informed consent.
We undertook a complex audience segmentation exercise, whittling down the large potential audience to seven segments, defined behaviourally, attitudinally and demographically. Over the course of 12 months, we gathered insights from over 200 members of the public through 29 focus groups, 17 co-design workshops and 42 interviews. We conducted extensive desk research, interviewed academic experts and key stakeholders and held focus groups with health professionals.
The insights from this research, as well as our knowledge of behavioural psychology, were used to perform a COM-B behavioural diagnosis and develop a message framework. We went on to develop and test a range of written and audiovisual content, including the participant information sheet, consent form, posters, leaflets, detailed online content and video explainers. We also tested the questionnaire that sits at the heart of the project through 35 cognitive interviews.
Since June 2021, Our Future Health has been using Claremont’s insights, content and engagement strategy to recruit several thousands of people to its early pilot projects.
Dr Saskia Sanderson, Chief Behavioural Scientist at Our Future Health said: “Involving the public in the design of key aspects of Our Future Health was and continues to be so important to us. Claremont were an absolute joy to work with on this – they went above and beyond to deliver a programme of public involvement, co-design and qualitative user research that we are really proud of.”
All 14 of our co-design participants who responded to an evaluation survey said they enjoyed the experience, felt listened to and felt they were able to make valuable contributions. They have all gone on to become part of the Public Advisory Board, which is now embedded in Our Future Health’s governance structures.