Patient priorities of care in rheumatology outpatient clinics: a qualitative study

Musculoskeletal Care. 2007 Dec;5(4):216-28. doi: 10.1002/msc.111.


Objective: To provide more understanding of what rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients want and need from an outpatient visit.

Methods: 25 patients who experienced care in a nurse practitioner clinic (n = 10), junior doctor clinic (n = 9) or consultant clinic (n = 6) in a large teaching hospital in West Yorkshire were interviewed about their perceptions and experiences of care. Interviews were approximately 1 1/2 hours in duration and were carried out in a neutral environment by a research nurse. Interview data were subjected to atheoretical content analysis, which resulted in the identification of emergent themes.

Results: Five main themes emerged from the analysis of interview data: 1) patients want to be communicated to clearly and effectively and value positive relationships with practitioners. These help to give patients confidence in the care they are receiving; 2) patients want to feel in control of their condition and tend to refuse interventions as a way of gaining control; 3) patients want to be given clear explanations during consultations, and want information in oral and written forms; 4) patients want to be able to access practitioners between scheduled appointments as a way of gaining reassurance; and 5) patients want to feel valued by society through having their difficulties appreciated and understood by others.

Conclusion: This research adds to the body of evidence on what patients want from their rheumatology care, and each theme has clear implications for future practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / psychology*
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Female
  • Health Priorities* / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Outpatients
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Physicians, Family
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Rheumatology / methods*