Dry eye disease (DED) is a common condition that significantly impacts patients’ quality of life. Previous studies have explored the impact of DED on patients’ lives qualitatively; however, patients’ preference structures have not been thoroughly explored quantitatively.
A targeted literature review and social media listening project guided design of a discussion guide for in-depth patient interviews (n=12). These, in turn, guided construction of a quantitative questionnaire administered to moderate to severe DED patients, 40 per country in Australia, Germany, United States and United Kingdom (total n=160). Patients’ preference structures were explored through an online survey using a self-explicated conjoint methodology, because of its high respondent-friendliness. Additionally, we administered the EQ5D-5L instrument to determine the health states/utilities of patients. Reaction to a hypothetical novel treatment was further obtained to check for convergent validity with the self-explicated conjoint. Finally, we asked respondents to rate the ease and relevance of the questionnaire to them.
Qualitative research uncovered important patient perspectives that were built into the quantitative survey. For example, patients seek medical advice when their symptoms are not improving. Patients’ lives are most affected by sensitivity to light, itchy and tired eyes and an inability to perform computer/screen work; however, of most concern/worrying to them is that their DED will get worse and they go blind. Results from the quantitative preference research will also be shared and its implications for future clinical trials in DED outlined. The results of the patient research and preference study are to be shared with health technology assessment (HTA) bodies and regulators through the early dialogue scientific advice process.
A process of using qualitative research to determine what matters to patients and then quantification through respondent-friendly preference research can identify outcomes that are most patient-relevant, to inform future drug development strategies.