The objective of the study was to develop and test a survey
patients regarding their level of disease-related knowledge, to identify potential targets for patient education.
A 10-item questionnaire
with readability at a Flesch-Kincaid grade level of 4.6 and Flesch reading ease of 83.9% was designed to address parameters considered important for patient participation in the management of gout
. The questionnaire
was primarily evaluated at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Philadelphia, but was also secondarily performed at 2 Chinese hospitals, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital of Zhong Shan University, Guangdong Province (GZ), and the Qingdao Municipal Hospital, Qingdao City, Shandong Province (QD). Demographic and questionnaire
data by institution were evaluated using descriptive statistics, and significant differences were identified by χ2
and Fisher exact tests. Patient responses were displayed by each individual question and by the distribution of total scores. Kruskal-Wallis tests of significance were used for nonparametric or skewed data. Intraclass correlations (ICCs) were performed within the VA population to determine internal consistency of the individual questions. A high score was defined as greater than 7 (the median value). Multivariate regression models using demographic and clinical characteristics attempted to identify factors associated with correct answers to each question.
Total correct score for individual patients varied widely at each institution with a mean (SD) and median (interquartile range [IQR]) scores in all 3 hospitals of 6.15 (2.25) and 7 (5-8), respectively. The average numbers of correct responses for each institution were 4.38 (SD, 3.04) (median, 4 [IQR, 2-7]) at GZ; 7.05 (SD, 1.37) (median, 8 [IQR, 6-8]) at QD; 6.21 (SD, 1.74) (median, 7 [IQR, 6-7]) at VA; P
= 0.0010. Two questions (Q4 and Q10) were identified as difficult to understand by patients and showed poor ICC (ICC = 0.0000, P
> 0.5) at the VA. Questions that were more difficult to answer were (1) Q3: What inside the joint causes attacks of gout
? (GZ, 28.6%; QD, 7.7%; VA, 72.4%; P
= 0.000); (2) Q8: How long should patients continue with serum uric acid-lowering drugs? (GZ, 19.1%; QD, 10.3%; VA, 82.7%; P
= 0.000); (3) Q6: The ideal serum uric acid to aim at during treatment? (GZ, 42.8%; QD, 89.7%; and VA, 17.2%; P
= 0.000); and (4) Q5: Which drugs can lower serum uric acid? (GZ, 61.9%; QD, 89.7%; VA, 51.7%; P
This study describes an easy-to-read 10-item questionnaire
that can identify important knowledge gaps in patients with gout
. This can be the first step in designing educational interventions to improve patient understanding and improve clinical care.