Background/aimsTrueColours ulcerative colitis (TCUC) is a comprehensive web-based program that functions through email, providing direct links to questionnaires. Several similar programs are available, however patient perspectives are unexplored.MethodsA pilot study was conducted to determine feasibility, usability and patient perceptions of real-time data collection (daily symptoms, fortnightly quality of life, 3 monthly outcomes). TCUC was adapted from a web-based program for patients with relapsing-remitting bipolar disorder, using validated UC indices. A semi-structured interview was developed and audio-recorded face-to-face interviews were conducted after 6 months of interaction with TCUC. Transcripts were coded in NVivo11, a qualitative data analysis software package. An inductive approach and thematic analysis was conducted.ResultsTCUC was piloted in 66 patients for 6 months. Qualitative analysis currently defies statistical appraisal beyond "data saturation," even if it has more influence on clinical practice than quantitative data. A total of 28 face-to-face interviews were conducted. Six core themes emerged: awareness, control, decision-making, reassurance, communication and burden of treatment. There was a transcending overarching theme of patient empowerment, which cut across all aspects of the TCUC experience.ConclusionsPatient perception of the impact of real-time data collection was extremely positive. Patients felt empowered as a product of the self-monitoring format of TCUC, which may be a way of improving self-management of UC whilst also decreasing the burden on the individual and healthcare services.
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Translational Gastroenterology Unit, NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK.