Publication Date



real-world data, patient-reported outcomes, sickle cell, rare diseases, data sharing, qualitative research


Purpose: Rare conditions are often poorly understood, creating barriers in determining the value treatments can provide. This study explored barriers and facilitators to personal health data sharing among those with one particular group of rare hematologic disorders, ie, sickle cell disorder (SCD) and its variants.

Methods: A single online focus group among those > 18 years of age and living with SCD was conducted. Participants (N = 25) were recruited through a United Kingdom-based SCD charity. Discussions were transcribed verbatim, with data therein analyzed using inductive thematic analysis.

Results: Five primary motivators for sharing health data were identified: improving awareness; knowing this would help others; evidencing impact; financial incentives; and being recognized as “experts with lived experience” rather than “specimens to be studied.” Barriers included lack of clarity regarding “why” data was sought and “who” benefited. Participants stated that electronic health record (EHR) and genetic data were often “too detailed” and therefore “off limits” for sharing. However, experiences, mindset, and well-being data, often hidden from the EHR, were acceptable to share and considered a better barometer of how rare conditions treat patients day-to-day.

Conclusions: Utilizing patient experience data obtained under real-world conditions is key to painting the most accurate picture of needs and understanding how SCD impacts patients’ day-to-day lives. Study findings suggest that patients with SCD are not merely passive providers of health data, but rather experts by experience. To appreciate the value that patient perspectives bring, we must revisit this status quo, amending our approach to patient centricity and reframing patients as high-value managers of their condition and personal health data who crucially decide what, how, and when they share it.




August 15th, 2022


December 21st, 2022


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