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Insights on conducting digital patient and public involvement in dementia research during the COVID-19 pandemic: supporting the development of an “E-nabling digital co-production” framework


Mauricio Molinari-Ulate

Rebecca Woodcock

Isabelle Smith

van der Roest

Manuel A


The rapid transition to digital working, accelerated due to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has impacted the involvement of patients and public in research. This paper presents experiences of engaging in digital Patient and Public Involvement (e-PPI) in dementia research since the lockdowns, offering recommendations regarding future digital and hybrid working. Furthermore, it introduces a co-produced framework for researchers, PPI coordinators and public contributors to identify and discuss challenges and opportunities provided by e-PPI.

Two online workshops and one individual interview were performed with a group of researchers and PPI coordinators with experience in PPI in dementia research, and with an existing dementia PPI group having some experience of working online during the pandemic. The project was constructed as a PPI activity, with the MindTech Involvement Team (PPI group) involved in the entire process, and a collaborative data analysis process was adopted.

After refinement of the coding structure, the MindTech Involvement Team and Project Leaders identified four main themes, resulting in the ‘E-nabling Digital Co-production' Framework. During this framework development, different positions were expressed, associated with the transition to digital working. Two main themes were shared by the participating groups regarding e-PPI: wider potential reach without geographical constraints, and the perception of more business-like sessions with reduced opportunities for social interactions and communication. Specifically for dementia research, whilst e-PPI may allow public contributors to attend more meetings, potentially mutually supportive environments provided by face-to-face meetings could be diminished, with carers experiencing a possible reduction in informal respite opportunities.

Through involving public contributors, researchers, and PPI coordinators with a focus on digital PPI in dementia research, we were able to further refine and co-produce the ‘E-nabling Digital Co-production' Framework. Demonstrating potential for analysis of benefits and limitations within e-PPI, it was possible to identify both general insights and those specific to dementia research. However, the most significant contribution of the framework is the potential to support local journeys of co-production in ongoing digital and hybrid public involvement activities.


Molinari-Ulate, M., Woodcock, R., Smith, I., van der Roest, H. G., Franco-Martín, M. A., & Craven, M. P. (2022). Insights on conducting digital patient and public involvement in dementia research during the COVID-19 pandemic: supporting the development of an “E-nabling digital co-production” framework. Research Involvement and Engagement, 8(1), Article 33.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 19, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 26, 2022
Publication Date Jul 26, 2022
Deposit Date Jul 27, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 29, 2022
Journal Research Involvement and Engagement
Electronic ISSN 2056-7529
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 1
Article Number 33
Keywords General Health Professions; Health (social science)
Public URL
Publisher URL


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