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Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore whether patients with musculoskeletal conditions would agree to use digital technologies to learn about research registries and make a decision about signing up whilst in the clinic waiting room. Methods: Patients were recruited from four hospital clinics across Oxfordshire. We used an explanatory mixed methods design with two sequential phases comprising an exploratory, cross-sectional questionnaire (n = 84), followed by focus group interviews (n = 8) to provide context for the findings from the questionnaire. Multivariate ordinal logistic regression models were used to explore relationships between patient preferences and characteristics. Thematic analysis was used to understand the reasons for patient preferences regarding digital technologies and research registries. Results: As participants' age increased, they were more likely to report a preference for face-to-face recruitment methods compared to those using digital technologies. Findings from the focus groups indicated this was primarily due to a fear of technology and physical limitations associated with a patient's condition. Patients also reported a preference for making a decision about signing up at a later date, which was attributed to patients feeling distracted whilst in the waiting room due to anxieties related to their upcoming appointment. Conclusions: Many patients with musculoskeletal conditions in the UK may be interested in learning about opportunities to participate in research whilst using digital technologies within the waiting room. The results suggest the need for choice regarding the presentation and format of information and whether it can be accessed at a later date at home.

Original publication




Journal article


Digit Health

Publication Date





Musculoskeletal, consent, digital technology, electronic health records, mobile applications, patient engagement, patient experience, patient participation, research registry, waiting room