Relevant non-pharmacologic topics for clinical research in rheumatic musculoskeletal diseases: The patient perspective

Francesca Ingegnoli, Tommaso Schioppo, Tania Ubiali, Valentina Bollati, Silvia Ostuzzi, Massimiliano Buoli, Roberto Caporali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The research approach on rheumatic musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) is challenging and patient involvement is an emerging issue to obtain relevant information to research. Despite growing interest in non-pharmacologic aspects of clinical research in RMDs, the patients’ perspectives are currently poorly explored. Methods: A cross-sectional no-profit online survey was devised to identify and rank the priorities for clinical research in RMDs according to patients’ perspectives. Patients were asked to rate the following topics: food/nutrition, air pollution, smoking, work activity, social participation, physical activity, emotional well-being/stress, alternative medicine, and patient-physician relationship. The survey was disseminated by ALOMAR (Lombard Association for Rheumatic Diseases) between June and October 2019. Results: Two hundred RMD patients completed the survey. The topic most rated 188 (94%) was the doctor-patient relationship, considered very or extremely important. Other topics rated as follows: psychological well-being 185 (92.5%), physical activity 155 (77.5%), nutrition, eating habits 150 (75%), alternative therapies 144 (72%), work activity 144 (72%), environmental pollution 134 (67%), social life 121 (60.5%) and cigarette smoke 119 (59.5%). The topics considered relevant were perceived to be able to influence disease symptoms. Environmental pollution and smoking were considered the most important for RMD prevention in 43.3% and 48.7% respectively. Conclusions: This survey highlights the relevance of several unmet needs and indicates that active patient involvement is essential to design successful translational studies and improve clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1305-1310
JournalInternational Journal of Rheumatic Diseases
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • diet
  • emotional well-being
  • environment
  • participation
  • patient perspective
  • patient-physician relation
  • research
  • rheumatic musculoskeletal diseases
  • work ability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology

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