BACKGROUND: The assessment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is dominated by core sets and indices that have been developed by RA professionals. Previous research developed a set of eight priority treatment outcomes generated by patients to complement the professionally developed core sets for RA.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to facilitate quantitative measurement of these outcomes.
METHODS: Two consultation meetings with patient research partners diagnosed with RA (n = 18) were held to identify face validity in existing instruments (Phase 1) at the Bristol Royal Infirmary. Where validated measures did not exist, new numerical rating scales (NRS) were constructed and discussed at two focus groups with patients diagnosed with RA (n = 8) at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (Phase 2). Feedback on the stem question, time frame, anchors and layout was recorded and transcribed verbatim.
RESULTS: Of the eight priorities, existing NRS for pain, activities of daily living and fatigue were voted as acceptable (Phase 1), but new NRS were required for five priorities. The partners strongly recommended that the three separate domains of severity, effect and ability to cope in each measurement area be assessed, as in the existing validated fatigue NRS. Focus group participants (Phase 2) made significant contributions to the phrasing of questions, for example how to ensure 'mobility' could be uniformly understood and how changes in valued activities be judged appropriately.
CONCLUSION: Through extensive patient feedback, 24 NRS were constructed based on priorities identified by patients and encompassing domains where existing questionnaires contain many more items and do not address three important concepts endorsed by patients: severity, effect and coping. The Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient Priorities in Pharmacological Interventions patient-reported outcome measures are now ready for the evaluation of comprehension, construct validity and sensitivity through an observational study.