Rheumatologists offer ways to enhance sexual/reproductive healthcare to patients

06 Mar 2023
Rheumatologists offer ways to enhance sexual/reproductive healthcare to patients

Rheumatologists and rheumatology advanced practice providers (APPs) have made known several potential solutions and facilitators that could improve sexual and reproductive health (SRH), which may help establish the basis for intervention development, reports a study.

A team of investigators led qualitative focus groups with rheumatologists (three groups) and APPs (two groups) via videoconferencing. They then transcribed the discussions, while two trained research coordinators developed a content-based codebook, which they applied to transcripts. Discrepancies were resolved to full agreement.

Afterwards, the investigators synthesized the codes and used these to perform a thematic analysis. They also identified differences in codes between the clinical groups by provider type. Overall, 22 clinicians participated in the discussions, including 12 rheumatologists and 10 APPs.

Thematic analysis revealed the following: (1) clinicians recommended preparing patients to engage in SRH conversations before and during clinic visits; (2) consultation systems are needed to facilitate rapid SRH care with women’s health providers; (3) clinicians advised development of training opportunities and easy-to-access resources to address SRH knowledge gaps; and (4) clinicians recommended that educational materials about SRH in the rheumatology context are provided for patients.

Ideas made between the APP and rheumatologist groups were comparable, but the latter were generally more interested in further education and training. On the other hand, APPs were more concerned in electronic health record prompts and tools.

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