Many patients with asthma report unmet health care needs. The Patient Needs in Asthma Treatment (NEAT) questionnaire is a validated instrument to quantify these unmet needs. We explored how health professionals evaluated the instrument’s utility as well as patients’ and professionals’ perspectives of how NEAT could be incorporated into routine clinical practice.
Qualitative interviews were conducted by telephone between February and September 2021 with 19 patients with asthma and 21 health professionals (i.e., general practitioners, pneumologists, health professionals in pulmonary rehabilitation, and medical assistants). Interview recordings were transcribed verbatim and content-analyzed using both deductive and inductive approaches using MAXQDA.
Health professionals could see the potential value of using NEAT to inform clinical decisions. However, health professionals tended to be skeptical towards the routine use of NEAT in outpatient settings, mainly due to a lack of time. Implementation of NEAT was seen as more valuable in the context of patient education (i.e., in Disease Management Programs [DMPs] or pulmonary rehabilitation) by patients and health professionals alike, because it offered greater opportunities to address any unmet needs identified. Both patients and health professionals considered it more useful to use the questionnaire for the first time some time after the initial diagnosis has been made (e.g., when the treatment regime is found rather than at time of initial diagnosis). In the context of DMPs and pulmonary rehabilitation, NEAT could be used twice, i.e., before and after patient education to support patient-centered planning and evaluation.
Both patients and health professionals consider the use of the NEAT, in particular in educational programs (i.e., during DMPs or pulmonary rehabilitation), as feasible and useful. There is now a need to undertake a feasibility trial in routine care.