Real-time data monitoring for ulcerative colitis: patient perception and qualitative analysis.
Walsh A., Matini L., Hinds C., Sexton V., Brain O., Keshav S., Geddes J., Goodwin G., Collins G., Travis S., Peters M.
Background/Aims: TrueColours ulcerative colitis (TCUC) is a comprehensive web-based program that functions through email, providing direct links to questionnaires. Several similar programs are available, however patient perspectives are unexplored. Methods: A pilot study was conducted to determine feasibility, usability and patient perceptions of real-time data collection (daily symptoms, fortnightly quality of life, 3 monthly outcomes). TCUC was adapted from a web-based program for patients with relapsing-remitting bipolar disorder, using validated UC indices. A semi-structured interview was developed and audio-recorded face-to-face interviews were conducted after 6 months of interaction with TCUC. Transcripts were coded in NVivo11, a qualitative data analysis software package. An inductive approach and thematic analysis was conducted. Results: TCUC was piloted in 66 patients for 6 months. Qualitative analysis currently defies statistical appraisal beyond "data saturation," even if it has more influence on clinical practice than quantitative data. A total of 28 face-to-face interviews were conducted. Six core themes emerged: awareness, control, decision-making, reassurance, communication and burden of treatment. There was a transcending overarching theme of patient empowerment, which cut across all aspects of the TCUC experience. Conclusions: Patient perception of the impact of real-time data collection was extremely positive. Patients felt empowered as a product of the self-monitoring format of TCUC, which may be a way of improving self-management of UC whilst also decreasing the burden on the individual and healthcare services.