OBJECTIVE: The aim was to explore the experiences of a patient-reported outcome (PRO)-based tele-health follow-up from the perspective of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and their experiences of increasing their active role and responsibility for disease control in particular.
METHODS: Adopting a strategy of interpretive description, we conducted individual, semi-structured interviews with 15 RA patients participating in a tele-health follow-up. Participants were selected purposively and consecutive from both genders and with various ages, disease durations and disease severity. The analysis was inductive with a constant comparative approach. First, we identified the main themes conveying the participants' experiences. Then, we constructed patient typologies to explain different perspectives on the tele-health follow-up.
RESULTS: Five themes covered the participants' experiences: 'A flexible solution', 'Responsibility', 'Knowledge of RA', 'Communication and involvement' and 'Continuity'. Two typologies: 'the keen patient' and 'the reluctant patient' represented opposite perspectives and preferences regarding the core value of and approach to the tele-health follow-up.
CONCLUSION: The participants had positive perceptions of the PRO-based tele-health follow-up and saw it as a flexible and resource-saving solution. They reported disadvantages related to missing face-to-face contact with health professionals (HPs). The two typologies, 'the keen' and 'the reluctant' patient, help us understand the patients' different needs, wishes and abilities to take part in tele-health follow-up. Our findings reveal a need for more insight into how tele-health follow-up could be integrated in routine clinical practice, paying special attention to how reluctant patients may be supported. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.