User involvement, a general term in human-centered studies, is now an accepted norm and is applied in health research. It refers to the involvement of users in different stages of research from design, to conduct and dissemination. The term user in health care is commonly used to refer to patients, caregivers, relatives, health professionals, and other associated and relevant stakeholders. It has now been widely accepted that a lack of adequate understanding of users’ needs may result in inadequate, mismatch, or failure in the research outcome, waste of time, and resources. Therefore, the purpose of user involvement is to understand the needs of users properly and to achieve a useful and usable outcome.
At the center for intelligent musculoskeletal health (CIM), the user group plans and involves users in research that is focused on various aspects of musculoskeletal health. Users are individuals affected by musculoskeletal health problems, health personnel in primary care, and related stakeholders. This group attempts to involve users to identify and understand their needs, expectations, and perspectives into account for study design, data collection, analysis, interpretation, and implementation. This in turn will result in meaningful and relevant research with a valuable and substantial impact.
This group is actively engaged in gap identification, needs identification, gap and need analysis, and designing evidence-based and needs-based research in musculoskeletal health. This will, in turn, facilitate addressing current gaps, needs, and limitations, and to overcome existing barriers in research and practice. This group is constantly involved in building a bridge between academic health research and health care practice in society.
Currently, the CIM user group is in process of identifying needs and gaps, by a comprehensive user involvement in various research projects at CIM. The focus is on musculoskeletal health conditions, in different age and gender groups, concerning pain, physical and psychological disabilities, co-morbid conditions, drugs, and occupation. To fulfill the overall aim, both qualitative and quantitative methods are used, and exploration, creation, reflection, and implementation steps are taken by, with, and for users.