Virtual Tools for POR during COVID-19

Adopting a patient-oriented approach (POR) to health research during a pandemic can feel challenging. Following are some tips and tools for supporting POR during the complex research environment created by COVID-19.

This page will be updated regularly as new tools emerge. Do you know of a virtual tool that can support POR? Please let us know so we can share it with the BC POR community.

Virtual Tools for Patient Engagement

1. Patient-Oriented Research Zoom Conversations: Patient Engagement Done Online Webinar recording | held June 10, 2020

Are you a member of a research team curious about how to adopt a patient-oriented research (POR) approach in a virtual work environment? This webinar includes:

  • An overview of patient-oriented research
  • Sharing with BC SUPPORT Unit patient partners and staff about moving face-to-face events to online events
  • Hearing about engaging patient partners using virtual tools


  • Noreen Frisch, Professor Emerita, School of Nursing, University of Victoria (Victoria)
  • Larry Mroz, Research Services Lead, BC SUPPORT Unit (Vancouver)
  • Sherri Mytopher, Patient Partner, BC SUPPORT Unit Provincial Patient Council (Fort St. John)
  • Anni Rychtera, Patient Partner, BC SUPPORT Unit Provincial Patient Council (Vernon)

Moderated by Beverley Pomeroy, Patient Engagement Specialist, Fraser Centre, BC SUPPORT Unit (Ladner)

2. From our colleagues at INVOLVE in the UK for virtual patient and public involvement (PPI), important considerations during the pandemic

3. Missed April 28, 2020's #WhyWeDoResearch Tweetchat on patient engagement during COVID?
View the transcript.

4. Kite, J., & Phongsavan, P. (2017). Insights for conducting real-time focus groups online using a web conferencing service. F1000Research6, 122.
Read the article

5. Research Design Review's Focus Groups: Moving to the online Face-to-Face Mode
Read the post

6. Sutherland Lab's Global Tips for Conducting Remote Focus Groups During COVID-19
Read the post

7. Knowledge Nudge (Manitoba)'s Methods for Engaging Remotely: Asynchronous Online Focus Groups
Read the post

8. Knowledge Nudge (Manitoba)'s Pre-Assessing Needs for Inclusive Online Patient Engagement
Read the post

Virtual Tools for Collaboration

1. BC SUPPORT Unit’s Electronic Communities of Practice

Are you a member of a BC-based patient-oriented research team that is looking to make working virtually together easier? We offer the BC SUPPORT Unit Electronic Communities of Practice (eCoPs).

eCoPs, which are hosted on our server in Canada, are password-protected online spaces where research teams can collaborate using a variety of tools and functionalities, including:

  • News Alerts: highlight new content for team members
  • Discussion Boards: discussion in online forums, so all conversations are in one place and searchable – no more digging through old emails.
  • Wikis:  webpages that anyone can edit to provide information on relevant topics.
  • Resources:  provide a central repository for your shared files – no more email attachments and document control issues.

Learn more.

2. Remote Work Survival Kit

While a general guide, The Remote Work Survival Kit can be used to support POR teams in a virtual work environment. It is a crowdsourced document, created in response to the COVID19 Coronavirus, to help those who are trying to:

  1. Implement remote working in their organisation.

  2. Set themselves up to work from home.

  3. Protect their business, their staff and teams from effects of this and future pandemics.

Read the Kit here.

3. Team Building & Communication Tool

BC Patient Safety & Quality Council's ATTICActivities for Transforming Teams & Igniting Change. ATTIC is a collection of activities that you and your team can use to build teamwork, develop communication skills, enable creative thinking and innovation, and help explore systems. They’re free, downloadable, and a lot of fun. 

See the ATTIC tools here.

4. Zoom's Running Engaging Online Events: Your ebook to success!

This set of tips from Zoom are helpful in running a successful Zoom meeting or webinar.

See the ebook here.

Resources from our CIHR/SPOR-funded Colleagues:

1. Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit's COVID-19 Resource Guide
A regularly updated Google doc with links to resources

2. Manitoba SPOR SUPPORT Unit's COVID-19 Resource Page
Links to many resources of potential interest

3. Newfoundland and Labrador SPOR SUPPORT Unit's COVID-19 Resource Page
Links to many resources of potential interest

4. CHILD-BRIGHT's COVID-19 Resources
COVID-19 resources for Canadian youth with disabilities, their families & support teams

5. Can-SOLVE CKD's COVID-19 Webinar
Best practices for working from home

6. Children's Healthcare Canada Webinar
Conducting health research during COVID-19: Challenges and solutions for leadership and productivity

7. Manitoba SPOR SUPPORT Unit
Pre-Assessing Needs for Inclusive Online Patient Engagement

8. CHILD-BRIGHT's COVID-19 Webinar
Conducting a Research Trial During a Pandemic: The New Normal?

9. Hotıì ts’eeda - NWT Unit's Video Series
COVID-19 Information is Medicine


General Resources

1. How to create a quick Twitter Poster to share new research (includes templates)

The cancellation of scientific conferences has reduced researchers' ability to get their research out. Check this out for a helpful Twitter tip.

2. Cochrane Training's Working together to beat COVID-19: engaging and involving patients and public

3. Cochrane's COVID-19: Making sense of health information

4. Wired Magazine's How to Read Covid-19 Research and Actually Understand it


The BC SUPPORT Unit's training is offered via virtual delivery in most cases. To learn more about what we can offer you and your team around patient-oriented research (POR) training, visit our 

  • POR Pathways Self Assessment Tools listing POR competencies with associated learning resources
  • Resources filterable by your role in research and the area you want more learning resources in
  • Events most of which are virtual during the pandemic
  • Webinars listing our recorded POR-related webinars for you to watch at your leisure

For patients: