Qualitative development of the rhinitis control assessment test (RCAT), an instrument for evaluating rhinitis symptom control
Background: Effective management of allergic rhinitis requires ongoing monitoring of its control. This article describes the qualitative phase of development of a patient-completed instrument, the Rhinitis Control Assessment Test (RCAT), designed to assist patients and providers in the detection of problems with rhinitis symptom control.
Objective: To identify concepts to be measured and to develop initial questionnaire items to be tested further in the next phase of development.
Methods: A literature review and input from patient focus groups were utilized to generate concepts to be measured in the draft questionnaire. The draft items were subjected to cognitive testing to ensure that the items were understood by patients and to eliminate ambiguity as well as to select an optimal recall period and meaningful response scales. Patients aged ?18 years self-reporting a rhinitis diagnosis who had experienced rhinitis symptoms in the past 12 months were eligible for participation in the focus groups (n?=?39) and the cognitive interviews (n?=?23).
Results: This qualitative process yielded a draft instrument with 26 items assessing five constructs of rhinitis symptom control: frequency and bothersomeness of nasal and non-nasal symptoms, symptom impact, activity interference, symptom control, and medication use. A five-point Likert response scale and a 1-week recall period for each item were adopted based on patient input.
Conclusion: The qualitative phase of development of the RCAT produced constructs and items for an instrument that is anticipated to facilitate accurate assessment of rhinitis control and improve the quality of care for patients with allergic rhinitis.