Objective: The aim of this qualitative research was to identify physician-perceived patient and clinic barriers to patient recruitment in a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pragmatic trial of anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) biologic versus non-TNF biologic/Janus-Kinase inhibitor initiation after an inadequate response to methotrexate.
Methods: Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted with 26 rheumatologists in March 2019. An exploratory thematic analysis approach was used to analyze the interview data.
Results: Physician perceived patient barriers to the implementation of an RA pragmatic trial. This theme covers three subthemes: (1) patients' personal barriers, (2) patients' treatment-related factors, and (3) trial-related factors (eg, patient recruitment, side effects, mode of use, etc). Physicians perceived clinic barriers interfered with the pragmatic trial enrollment from the clinic or the healthcare system perspective. This theme covered four subthemes: (1) clinic-related factors, (2) patient-related factors, (3) research personnel, and (4) facilitators (positive factors of the clinic).
Conclusion: Our results from the inductive thematic analysis will help researchers understand the key patient and clinic/system factors/barriers that may influence pragmatic RA trial implementation. The themes suggest there are factors that can be modified (eg, coordinator effort needed, effective patient recruitment during clinic visits, provider engagement) and challenges to overcome (patient insurance status, busy clinic flow, and space issues including limited number of patient rooms). In summary, these themes provide a basis for our and other research teams to develop clinic-centered and patient centered strategies to implement a pragmatic RA trial.