“Keep it simple”: Perspectives of patients with low back pain on how to qualify a patient‐centred consultation using patient‐reported outcomes

Background

Patient‐reported outcomes are expected to play an important role in patient‐centred health care. To capture patients’ perspectives, patient involvement in the development of patient‐reported outcome (PRO) instruments is essential, but often lacking. This qualitative study explored the perspectives of patients with low back pain, to gain an understanding of how to qualify a patient‐centred consultation by using PROs. This was done by exploring patients’ perspectives regarding the assessment of functioning and disability as part of the development of a new PRO instrument based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health Core Set.

Methods

Semi‐structured focus group interviews with seven patients with low back pain were conducted. Data were analysed by drawing on the Interpretive Description methodology.

Results

The analysis revealed three core themes: simplicity, individuality and application. Simplicityrepresented keeping items to a minimum and avoiding overlaps; individuality implied the need for individualized answers; and application signified that PROs should be utilized during the consultation, and that they can provide useful information for clinical decision‐making.

Conclusions

The study provides essential knowledge about elements of importance to patients with low back pain when aiming for a patient‐centred consultation using PROs. Furthermore, it underlines the importance of involving patients in PRO development because their perspectives improved the new PRO instrument.