Reporting consistency in systemic lupus erythematosus patients: How reliable are patient histories?
Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic
Medical History Taking
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients are frequently seen by multiple physicians and at multiple times. In each instance, most of the information important in clinical decision-making is gathered from the patient. There are no studies looking at reporting consistency of certain aspects of SLE patients' history. We studied this by administering the same nine-item questionnaire 4 months apart to the same cohort of SLE patients. In addition, a retrospective chart review was done to correlate the information obtained by prospective questioning and with that on the charts. Our results showed overall good consistency in the areas of general medical history, SLE-specific history and social history. The information gathered by the chart review, in general, went in parallel with that obtained by prospective questioning. This was also true for the poor correlation observed in the family history questions. Many studies and databases depend rather heavily on patient reporting and the quality of this information is usually not substantiated. Our study suggests that, even though SLE patients are generally consistent reporters of certain aspects of their histories, family history information provided is frequently not consistent with previous reporting.