Using consumer engagement strategies to improve healthcare safety for young people: an exploration of the relevance and suitability of current approaches

Bronwyn Newman, Kathryn Joseph, Fiona E .J. McDonald, Reema Harrison, Pandora Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Consumer engagement in health care is recognized as a critical strategy to minimize healthcare-associated harms, however, little research has focussed on strategies to engage young people in healthcare safety. This study explores the suitability of commonly used engagement strategies, such as brochures, interactive bedside charts or apps, for young people (14-25 years) to improve their healthcare safety, with a focus on cancer care.

Methods: Four qualitative online workshops were conducted (N = 19). Two workshops included young people who had experienced cancer (n = 6) and two workshops included staff who support young people who had experienced a diagnosis of cancer (n = 12). Evidence from a systematic review was used to develop case studies of existing strategies as a topic guide for the online workshops. Data were analysed using a framework method and template analysis approach.

Results: Thematic analysis against the analytic framework led to the development of four principles for engagement with young people: empowerment, transparency, participatory culture and flexibility. The transition from being 'looked after' to young people being responsible for their own care was an integrative theme which intersected all elements of the framework.

Conclusion: For service providers to engage with young people about safety issues in cancer services, the strategies employed need to be tailored to consider the transitional nature of being an adolescent or young adult. A systemic approach that incorporates flexible, tailored engagement strategies, education and empowerment of young people and healthcare providers is required to engage effectively with young people about safety in healthcare. These findings may have implications beyond cancer care.

Patient or Public Contribution: Workshop content was developed with and by the CanEngage team, including the Consumer Advisory Group, who reviewed content and inform wider project priorities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3215-3224
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Expectations
Issue number6
Early online date28 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • cancer care
  • consumer engagement
  • consumer participation
  • co‐production
  • patient safety
  • young people
  • co-production


Dive into the research topics of 'Using consumer engagement strategies to improve healthcare safety for young people: an exploration of the relevance and suitability of current approaches'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this