Quality Improvement for Rheumatoid Arthritis Care: Results From a Focus Group
Complex treatment decisions in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affect aspects of patients’ physical, psychological and emotional well-being. We aimed to identify key attributes of patient-centered rheumatologic care for adults with RA through a qualitative study using patient focus group discussions in order to guide quality improvement efforts around optimisation of disease management.
Patients with RA were recruited from a large academic medical centre rheumatology clinic and its affiliate sites over one month and allocated into focus groups led by an experienced moderator. Focus groups were held until thematic saturation was reached. Patients’ responses were examined, categorised into themes, and codified independently by three reviewers. We extracted statements identifying common themes from transcripts.
Thirteen patients with RA were recruited and allocated into three focus groups. Mean age was 59.1±10.1 years and average RA disease duration was 17.8 years. All participants had experience taking at least one disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). Following reviewer analysis of patients’ responses, six common themes about quality RA care were identified including: the role and use of self-management strategies, the clinical environment, the health care delivery process, attitudes towards medication, insurance and medication access issues, and the impact of disease on lifestyle.
Themes uncovered in focus group discussions related predominantly to the clinical environment and patient-provider communication. These preliminary results identified the need to incorporate operational aspects of health care delivery into our assessment of the RA patient experience and formed the basis of a RA quality improvement programme targeting medication optimisation.
Forman, M., Leatherwood, C., Iversen, M. D., Solomon, D. H., & Desai, S. P. (2020). Quality improvement for rheumatoid arthritis care: Results from a focus group. Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, 38(3), 428–435.
Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology