Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America Partners Patient-Powered Research Network: Patient Perspectives on Facilitators and Barriers to Building an Impactful Patient-Powered Research Network

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Background:To build a Patient-Powered Research Networks (PPRN) that prioritizes the needs of its members who have inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), we sought to better understand patients’ preferences for what are the essential features that will facilitate and sustain engagement.Methods:We conducted a two-phase qualitative study. Seven focus groups involving 62 participants with IBD were conducted (phase 1). Focus group results informed the phase 2 cognitive interviews, which included 13 phone interviews. Topics included experiences with IBD and research, PPRN engagement, patient-generated health data, and resources/tools to facilitate self-management. All focus groups and interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed in ATLAS.ti 7.5. Thematic categories were derived from the data, and codes were grouped into emergent themes and relationships.Results:Four major themes emerged through inductive coding: (1) the impact of knowing; (2) participation barriers and challenges; (3) engagement and collaboration; and (4) customizable patient portal features/functionalities. Participants were motivated to participate in the PPRN because the knowledge gained from research studies would benefit both society and the individual. Main concerns included credibility of online resources, pharmaceutical industry profiting from their data, data security, and participation expectations. Participants wanted a true and equal partnership in every phase of building a PPRN. Participants felt it was important to have access to personal health records and be able to track health status and symptoms.Conclusion:Partnering with participants throughout PPRN development was critical to understanding the needs and preferences of patients with IBDs and for shaping engagement strategies and the portal’s design.

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