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  1. C. Burns1,
  2. H. Breitmeyer1,
  3. L. Cowley2,
  4. S. Govind3,
  5. W. F. Ng4,
  6. T. F. Hiemstra2,5
  1. 1British Sjögren’s Syndrome Association, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  2. 2Patient Led Research Hub, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  3. 3Cambridge Clinical Trials Unit, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  4. 4Newcastle University, Newcastle, United Kingdom
  5. 5University of Cambridge, Medicine, Cambridge, United Kingdom


Background: Sjögren’s Syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease affecting the exocrine glands accompanied by variable extra-glandular manifestations. Symptom flares, including dry eyes, dry mouth, dry skin, fatigue, myalgia and arthralgia, are frequent. Many of these symptoms have a considerable impact on quality of life, but are variable, sensitive to external factors, and difficult to measure objectively.

Clinical research on Sjögren’s Syndrome is advancing with the help of patient registries: an array of clinical data is collected and available for approved studies. However, many of these registries focus on collecting clinical information and often fail to capture the diverse patient experience adequately. Thus, there is an unmet need for an online ‘patient portal’, secure and encrypted with the capability of interacting with existing registries, while also patient-facing to encourage active involvement in research and personal healthcare. Patient demand for this resource was highlighted in 2017 when the Cambridgeshire regional support group of the British Sjögren’s Syndrome Association (BSSA) contacted the Patient Led Research Hub (PLRH). The PLRH provides research expertise to co-produce research ideas with patient organisations1; the PLRH and Cambridgeshire group have since secured funding and initiated work on this project with the Cambridge Clinical Trials Unit.

Objectives: Develop ‘My Sjögren’s Diary’ a cross-platform patient portal to:

1.Act as an interactive tool to help patients manage their healthcare needs and aid communication with healthcare providers.

2.Function as a research platform, enabling patients to consent to contact, as well as support home-based data entry, allowing real-time capture of symptom scores and ensuring ease of participation for patients. Link with the UK Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome Registry and NHS Digital to provide complementary clinical datasets.

Methods: The PLRH has coordinated a team of rheumatologists, database programmers, patients and family members to develop My Sjögren’s Diary. Regular meetings, national surveys and correspondence with patients ensures the project remains relevant to patient needs, while collaborating with rheumatologists ensures the database is reliable, valid and of benefit to clinical care. Workshops hosted at key stages of database development have allowed both patients and rheumatologists to direct and refine My Sjögren’s Diary. A prototype was presented at the 2019 BSSA Annual Conference before further improvements and beta release.

Results: A beta version of My Sjögren’s Diary enabling BSSA members to track their medication and symptoms is now active. Feedback will be incorporated into the final version before it is publicly available to Sjögren’s Syndrome patients. Further funding is required to develop the research platform.

Conclusion: My Sjögren’s Diary encourages equal partnership between patients, clinicians and researchers. It presents a unique opportunity for comprehensive analysis of Sjögren’s Syndrome and associated health utilities. Research participation is not mandatory, encouraging all patients to have an active role in personal healthcare management.

References: [1]Mader LB, Harris T, Kläger S, Wilkinson IB, Hiemstra TF. Inverting the patient involvement paradigm: defining patient led research. Research Involvement and Engagement 4, 21 (2018).

Acknowledgments: Thank you to Cambridgeshire and North Eastern BSSA regional support groups for ongoing review of the portal’s usability, function and design. Thank you to BSSA for project funding, and to the Cambridge Clinical Trials Unit and University of Cambridge Medical Library for providing workshop facilities.

Disclosure of Interests: None declared

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