Frequently Asked Questions for Student Focus Group Participants

Do I need to have any knowledge about Digital Health to participate?

No prior knowledge about digital health is assumed or required. We are interested in your thoughts and ideas on how Digital Health education could be integrated into current medical education curricula. The aim is to try and identify how medical education can provide the opportunity for future doctors to learn how to become effective in a digital health care environment. If you have knowledge of digital health we would welcome it if you can share your thoughts with us. You will find a high-level overview on some of the common digital health topics on this website which may provide some food for thought.

What is this website for and what information will I find on the site?

This website is an information repository to support a PhD Research project on Digital Health. The main researcher is Brett Sumner, at the University of Otago Medical School, Wellington. The primary purpose of the website is to provide information for potential focus group participants to make an informed decision as to whether they would like to help with the research. It also provides a mechanism to send an electronic Microsoft Form to provide consent to participate in a focus group meeting. The website also provides some background information on some of the key digital health topics for future doctors.

Do I need to prepare for a focus group meeting?

There is no preparation required. We want to hear your perspectives and ideas. However, if you have time, this website has some background information on several digital health topics. These can be found under the menu item of Example Topics.

What is the date and time for the student focus group meetings?

The Participant Consent form has a number of date/time options. Along with an option to select if you can’t make any of those date/time options, so we can try and find an alternative date/time.

What is the format and duration of the focus group meetings?

The focus group meetings are via Zoom video conference. We are hoping that there will be around five participants in each group. They will be facilitated by the main researcher (Brett Sumner) and an experienced researcher from the Univerisity of Otago to help facilitate the discussions. The meeting is expected to take an hour.

What type of questions will be asked?

The precise nature of the questions that will be asked cannot be determined exactly in advance and will depend on how the focus group meeting develops. It is perhaps best to think of the meetings as brainstorming sessions with peers. We will provide some prompts, but we are primarily interested in capturing YOUR ideas and opinions. We are also interested in learning about any observations and experiences regarding digital health education thus far in your medical education which may inform the discussions and ideas on how best to include Digital Health education into the curriculum.

Will there be any payment for participation?

Yes, as a token gesture for your time and contribution, each active participant of the focus group will be sent via post a supermarket voucher for $30. This will be arranged as soon as reasonably practicable after the focus group meeting that you participate in.

How do I sign up to participate in one of the Focus Group Meetings?

Signing up to participate in one of the focus group meetings is easy, it is all done online. Please complete the following steps:
1. Read the Information Sheet for Participants.
2. Complete the questions on the Microsoft Form which will be sent to the Researcher’s (Brett Sumner) University of Otago email address. Brett will then contact you via email to confirm your place in your chosen focus group meeting and provide a calendar appointment with Zoom connection details.

What if there are no places left for my preferred or chosen date?

If there are no places available on your preferred date we will let you know as soon as possible along with any other date options. It is a good idea to sign-up quickly if one of the date options works better for you. If you are still interested in participating but the date/times don’t work for you, please send an email to Brett ( for consideration for future focus group meetings.

Once you have submitted the electronic participant consent form, within one business day you should receive a confirmation email. Details for the Zoom meeting will be sent to you on the afternoon of the meeting.

What if I sign-up but later decide to withdraw my participation?

No problem at all, this is explained in the Information Sheet for Participants there is no obligation, you are free to cancel your participation anytime without any disadvantage to yourself. You can also withdraw your contribution anytime during the project. If requested, we will endeavour to remove any of your contributions to the focus group discussion(s) although this may not be entirely possible post-data analysis due to the group nature of data collection. However, the research project will not present any clearly identifiable information about students and your anonymity will be maintained wherever possible. We would appreciate it if you contact Brett by email: as soon as possible if you need to cancel or decide to withdraw.