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Systemic lupus erythematosus observations of travel burden: A qualitative inquiry

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Williams EM1, Ortiz K2, Flournoy-Floyd M1, Bruner L3, Kamen D4. Int J Rheum Dis. 2015 Jul 14. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.12614. [Epub ahead of print]


AIMS:Explorations of travel impediments among patients suffering from rheumatic diseases have been very limited. Research has consistently indicated a shortage of rheumatologists, resulting in patients potentially having to travel long distances for care. The purpose of our study was to explore how systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients experience travel issues differentially by race and socio-economic status.

METHODS:We conducted semi-structured interviews and a brief demographic survey with 10 patients diagnosed with SLE. Interview transcripts were coded and analyzed using NVivo Analysis Software to facilitate the reporting of recurrent themes and supporting quotations, and an initial codebook was independently developed by two researchers on the study team and then verified together.


Patients described three major areas of concern with respect to travel burden in accessing their rheumatologists: reliance on caregivers; meeting financial priorities; and pain and physical limitations.

CONCLUSIONS:Our data suggest general traveling challenges interfering with medical appointment compliance for several participants and the importance of socio-economic issues when considering travel issues. This study highlights an important area with implications for adherence to medical appointments and participation in research among patients with SLE.