Who are the Test Bed Advisory Group?
Healthwatch Sheffield is responsible for engaging with members of the public and ensuring that their views are heard and fully considered in the design and delivery of the projects in the programme. A main aim of the engagement work is to improve the experience of people who are recruited to take part. To achieve this, a group of volunteers were recruited in September 2016 to form the Test Bed Advisory Group (TAG).
What do the Test Bed Advisory Group do?
The Test Bed Advisory Group is made up of volunteers that either have long term health conditions or are the relative or carer of someone with such conditions. The group contribute by email on a regular basis and meet every 6 weeks to consider issues that may affect people who are trying out technologies as part of the programme. The group actively identify issues that they think matter from a patient, relative and carers perspective and suggest ways in which project plans can be amended to better suit patients and encourage them to take part. The TAG provide valuable insight by scrutinising evaluation plans, designing and amending information materials for participants and members of the public. In addition to debating and advising on issues relating to specific projects, the TAG are consulted on programme wide issues such as how patient data is handled, potential equality issues and overcoming barriers to participation.
Members also get involved in presentations at conferences. For example, several TAG members presented at the Yorkshire & Humber Digital Health & Wellbeing Ecosystem event in Wakefield in March 2017 and helped to deliver a workshop session to challenge the audience to consider barriers to adoption of technology in healthcare. Others act as champions providing more in-depth support for a specific project because of their experience of a focus condition.
We raise public awareness of the programme by visiting voluntary and community groups whose members have long term health conditions and Patient Participation Groups of the GP surgeries involved in our projects. Gathering views from these groups helps to ensure that the views of people of various ages and backgrounds are fed into the programme.
The TAG members have highlighted that one of the strengths of the programme is that some of the projects involve patients using technology at home which has the potential to empower patients to manage their own health, whilst other projects involve health care professionals using technology with patients so being able to use technology is not a barrier preventing people from take part in the programme.
An opportunity to get involved
If you want to find out more about our engagement work or are interested in joining the Test Bed Advisory Group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org