Our Methods

HERN strives to create resources which carry the weight and power of a personalized interview alongside the rigor and integrity of an academic paper

DIPEx Methodology

HERN is committed to implementing the Database of Individual Patient Experiences (DIPEx) methodology in the United States so that each qualitative research study is conducted with rigor and its corresponding public-facing web-based “module” is interpretive, deeply descriptive, and holistic. To support the development of high-quality modules in the USA, we are committed to abiding by the DIPEx International Guidelines and to the following “Principles of Practice,” appropriately adapted to the US context.

All modules included on our website are developed using systematic qualitative research methods as described below

REPRESENT DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES

Because we are committed to representing the broadest possible range of health experiences, we find a diverse sample for each population we are studying. This means that we make sure that the 30-50 participants we interview for each have different backgrounds and different kinds of experiences with health and health care. Interviews take place in people’s own homes or other places they choose in order to enable diverse participation.

RESPECT EXPERTISE THAT COMES WITH LIVED EXPERIENCES

We assume that people are experts when it comes to their own health experiences. Our goal is to understand those experiences as fully as possible. We therefore begin each interview by asking participants to tell us their own stories, in their own words, and then ask a more structured set of follow-up questions.

DEEPLY ENGAGE PARTICIPANTS

Participants are given the choice of being video or audio-recorded. They are given access to full transcripts and retain full ownership over how their interviews are displayed on the website and used in the future. Many stay involved as advisors or to help disseminate findings (see below).

LEARN FROM ADVISORS

For each module, we assemble an advisory group which includes participants, clinicians, advocates, and representatives of community organizations. This group provides on-going feedback and review as the module develops.

ANALYZE WITH RIGOR

Multiple researchers analyze and categorize transcripts from each of the interviews. We use qualitative research coding methods to identify relevant patterns and themes.

ORGANIZE AND PRESENT PARTICIPANTS' STORIES

Once we have our established themes, they are presented as web-based modules at www.healthexperiencesusa.org. What we learned is organized by categories and topics that help visitors to the website discover what is relevant to them.  We take special care to retain the voices of those we interviewed, and include relevant clinical and background information.

DISSEMINATE WIDELY

We develop a plan for getting the word out about each new module that draws on existing networks of patients, clinicians, organizations and advocacy groups. People who contributed their stories may work as “patient experience ambassadors” to represent the finished module for various audiences. Key findings are published in the peer-reviewed literature.

If you have any questions about these methods, we encourage you to take a look at the detailed description offered by our British counterparts at healthtalk.org, or you can contact us.

©2019 Health Experiences Research Network