Patient-reported outcomes in RA care improve patient communication, decision-making, satisfaction and confidence: qualitative results

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2020 Jul 1;59(7):1662-1670. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kez506.


Objective: To evaluate the impact of integrating patient-reported outcomes (PROs) into routine clinics, from the perspective of patients with RA, clinicians and other staff.

Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study using a mixed methods sequential explanatory design at an academic arthritis clinic. RA patients completed selected Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System measures on tablets in the waiting room. Results were immediately available to discuss during the visit. Post-visit surveys with patients and physicians evaluated topics discussed and their impact on decision making; patients rated confidence in treatment. Focus groups or interviews with patients, treating rheumatologists and clinic staff were conducted to understand perspectives and experiences.

Results: Some 196 patients and 20 rheumatologists completed post-visit surveys at 816 and 806 visits, respectively. Focus groups were conducted with 24 patients, 10 rheumatologists and 4 research/clinic staff. PROs influenced medical decision-making and RA treatment changes (38 and 18% of visits, respectively). Patients reported very high satisfaction and treatment confidence. Impact on clinical workflow was minimal after a period of initial adjustment. PROs were valued by patients and physicians, and provided new insight into how patients felt and functioned over time. Reviewing results together improved communication, and facilitated patient-centred care, shared decision making, and the identification of new symptoms and contributing psychosocial/behavioural factors.

Conclusion: PRO use at RA visits was feasible, increased understanding of how disease affects how patients feel and function, facilitated shared decision-making, and was associated with high patient satisfaction and treatment confidence.

Keywords: PROMIS; clinical practice; patient-reported outcomes; qualitative research; rheumatoid arthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / psychology
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Communication*
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Participation*
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Qualitative Research