Development of an innovative real-world evidence registry for the herpes simplex virus: Case study
Van Velthoven MH., Lam C., De Cock C., Stenfors T., Chaudhury H., Meinert E.
© 2020 Journal of Medical Internet Research. All rights reserved. Background: Infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV) is common but not well understood. Furthermore, there remains a social stigma surrounding HSV that can have psychosocial implications for those infected. Despite many patients infected with HSV experiencing mild-to-severe physical symptoms, only one subeffective treatment is available. A registry collecting real-world data reported by individuals potentially infected with HSV could help patients to better understand and manage their condition. Objective: This study aimed to report on the development of a registry to collect real-world data reported by people who might be infected with HSV. Methods: A case study design was selected as it provides a systematic and in-depth approach to investigating the planning phase of the registry. The case study followed seven stages: plan, design, prepare, collect, analyze, create, and share. We carried out semistructured interviews with experts, which were thematically analyzed and used to build use cases for the proposed registry. These use cases will be used to generate detailed models of how a real-world evidence registry might be perceived and used by different users. Results: The following key themes were identified in the interviews: (1) stigma and anonymity, (2) selection bias, (3) understanding treatment and outcome gaps, (4) lifestyle factors, (5) individualized versus population-level data, and (6) severe complications of HSV. We developed use cases for different types of users of the registry, including individuals with HSV, members of the public, researchers, and clinicians. Conclusions: This case study revealed key considerations and insights for the development of an appropriate registry to collect real-world data reported by people who might be infected with HSV. Further development and testing of the registry with different users is required. The registry must also be evaluated for the feasibility and effectiveness of collecting data to support symptom management. This registry has the potential to contribute to the development of vaccines and treatments and provide insights into the impact of HSV on other conditions.