Going (Digital) Native: Involving Young People in Medicine 2.0 Research

Natalie Louise Byrom* Natalie Louise Byrom*, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom
John Powell, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom

Track: Practice
Presentation Topic: Consumer empowerment, patient-physician relationship, and sociotechnical issues
Presentation Type: Poster presentation
Submission Type: Single Presentation

Building: LKSC Conference Center Stanford
Room: Lower Lobby
Date: 2011-09-18 12:00 PM – 01:00 PM
Last modified: 2011-08-12

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The term “digital natives” has increasingly been used in academic discourse to describe the generation of young people who have grown up using web 2.0 technologies as part of their everyday lives. When conducting research with the aim of developing web 2.0 based interventions to support the healthcare needs of young people, it is important to involve young people in the design of the research. Involving young people can confer many benefits, including; maximizing the chances of adoption of the intervention, identifying relevant outcome measures, aiding recruitment of research participants, and assisting in the dissemination of findings. User involvement in research is about understanding and incorporating the user perspective into the project, often from the initial stages. In order for young people to engage in this process, it is important to equip them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to comment on and contribute to proposed programs of research.
The two main objectives are as follows; to use innovative approaches to capture the views of young people to inform the design of a program of research examining the role of web 2.0 technologies in supporting the health care needs of young people living with long term conditions and to give young people an insight into the research process and to build their confidence in communicating their ideas and opinions to the research team.
We invited twenty young people aged between fifteen and seventeen years from diverse socio-economic backgrounds to participate in a Young Researcher Scheme, accredited by the University of Warwick. The young people were recruited through their schools, and nominated by their teachers on the basis of their enthusiasm for the project and ability to participate without this impacting negatively on their studies. The young people were invited to attend a day-long workshop held at the University of Warwick where they were introduced to the project and the research team and given short course in research methods. The research team posted videos on YouTube and set up a Facebook and Twitter page for the project, to help the young people selected prepare for their involvement in both the Young Researcher Scheme and with the research team. On the day of the workshop the young people were asked to design a research project based around the theme of: “long term conditions, young people and web 2.0/social media” and were assisted narrowing their area of interest by members of the research team, patients and expert consultants. They were encouraged to choose both the web 2.0 technology and the long term condition they wished to research independently, helping the research team to gauge what technologies and health conditions young people engaged with the most. Participants in the young researcher scheme were equipped with the necessary skills and techniques to undertake research and produce a 1,000 word research paper on the topic of interest. The young people were also provided with the equipment to make a short film to disseminate the findings of their research report through YouTube, and record a short monologue reflecting on their experience of the research process.
The reports and videos produced by the Young Researchers were used to refine existing research objectives within the on going program of research and identify future areas of interest. We will demonstrate videos of these outputs in this presentation.
Innovative approaches to user involvement in research can help to capture the views of participants who may not contribute in more traditional consultation processes. The user involvement strategy piloted here was successful in ensuring sustained engagement with our research program, and will be replicated in future studies. Medicine 2.0 research has much to gain from understanding the perspectives of the younger generation of digital natives and their relationship with technology in the context of their healthcare.

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