What do patients think? Results of a mixed methods pilot study assessing sciatica patients' interpretations of satisfaction and improvement

Roni L. Evans, Michele J. Maiers, Gert Bronfort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Little is known about the issues low back pain patients take into account when deciding their satisfaction with care, the importance placed on such satisfaction, or the factors they consider when assessing their overall improvement. Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore these issues and to assess the feasibility of implementing qualitative research methods within a clinical trial. Methods: Study participants were volunteers taking part in a randomized clinical pilot study comparing nonsurgical treatments for sciatica. Face-to-face interviews were conducted, transcribed, and analyzed using content analysis. Results: All 31 individuals who participated in the pilot study were interviewed. When asked which issues they considered when deciding their satisfaction with care, the most frequently identified themes were change in pain, personnel, and the treatment experience. When assessing their overall improvement, all participants considered whether their pain had changed. In response to the question asking participants which outcomes they considered to be most important, severity of pain and quality of life were most commonly cited. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that a "mixed methods" approach using qualitative research methods within a clinical trial is not only feasible but can provide interesting and useful information for trial interpretation and future study design. By providing insight to the multidimensional nature of patients' beliefs and perceptions, this technique may not only shape but also redefine the focus of patient-oriented research and health care for low back pain conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-509
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics
Volume26
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Michele Maiers is a Research Fellow at Northwestern Health Sciences University, funded by the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine through the National Institutes of Health. Dr Bronfort holds the Greenwalt Research Chair, funded through an unrestricted grant from Foot Levelers, Inc.

Keywords

  • Low Back Pain
  • Outcome Measures
  • Qualitative Research
  • Satisfaction

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