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Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2016 Jul;68(7):974-80. doi: 10.1002/acr.22767.

Participation in Clinical Research Registries: A Focus Group Study Examining Views From Patients With Arthritis and Other Chronic Illnesses.

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Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Northeastern University, and Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts.
Health Resources in Action, Boston, Massachusetts.
Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts.



Patient registries have contributed substantially to progress in clinical research in rheumatic diseases. However, not much is known about how to optimize the patient experience in such registries. We assessed patient views, motivations, and potential barriers towards participation in registry research to better understand how registries can be improved to maximize patient engagement.


Focus groups were held with 23 patients (mean ± SD age 59 ± 13 years) from the Boston area and led by a bilingual moderator trained in focus group methodology, using a semistructured moderator guide. Three separate focus groups were conducted to thematic saturation: patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who had registry experience, patients with any chronic illness, and Spanish-speaking patients with RA or osteoarthritis. Patients in the latter 2 groups had no prior registry experience. Focus groups were audiotaped and transcribed. Four researchers independently analyzed transcripts using open data coding to identify themes. A normative group process was used to consolidate and refine themes.


Seven major themes were identified, including personalization/convenience of data collection, trust and confidentiality, camaraderie, learning about yourself and your disease, altruism, material motivators, and capturing mental health and other elements of the lived experience. We observed distinct differences in the discussion content of the Spanish-speaking patients compared to the English-speaking patients.


This study identified patient attitudes towards registry research among those with and without prior experience in a registry. The results provide insight into strategies for registry design to maximize patient engagement, which can lead to more robust registry data.

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