Utilizing patient-generated health data (PGHD) in clinical consultations and informing clinical and shared decision-making processes has the potential to improve clinical practice but has proven challenging to implement. Looking at consultations between people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and rheumatologists, this study examines when and how daily PGHD was discussed in outpatient consultations.
We conducted a secondary qualitative analysis of 17 audio-recorded research outpatient consultations using thematic and interactional approaches.
Clinicians decided when to look at the PGHD and what symptoms to prioritise during the consultation. When PGHD was introduced early in consultations, it was usually used to invite patients to collaborate (elicit new information). When introduced later, PGHD was used to corroborate patient accounts and to convince the patient about proposed actions and treatments. Clinicians occasionally disregarded PGHD if it did not fit into their clinical assessment.
The time that PGHD is introduced may influence how PGHD is used in consultations. Further research is needed to understand how best to empower patients to discuss PGHD.
Educating patients and clinicians about the importance of timing and strategies when using PGHD in consultations may help promote shared decision-making.