Identifying the Benefits and Risks of Emerging Treatments for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Qualitative Study

  • John F. P. Bridges
  • Victoria Federico Paly
  • Elizabeth Barker
  • Dolly Kervitsky
Original Research Article



Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a rare, progressive, and fatal disease, with very few therapeutic options. Given a paucity of qualitative research to the perspective of patients and other stakeholders in IPF, we sought to identify issues associated with the benefits and risks of emerging treatments and other issues relevant to design of a survey for assessing patient preferences for IPF treatments.


Semi-structured key informant interviews were conducted, predominately via telephone, with a range of stakeholder perspectives identified through partnership with a national advocacy organization using a combination of purposive and snowball sampling. Stakeholders were asked guiding questions related to emerging trends impacting IPF patients, likely benefits and risks of emerging treatments, and the outcomes most relevant to patients. Detailed and de-identified field notes were analyzed using interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA), and a taxonomy of key themes was developed.


A total of 20 interviews (participation rate 63%) were conducted with patients/advocates/caregivers (n = 7), providers/researchers (n = 8), and experts associated with policy/industry (n = 5). All interviewees expressed great hope with regards to emerging treatments. Three super-ordinate themes emerged: impact of emerging therapies (spanning the benefits, risks, and unintended consequences of emerging therapies); documenting the patient experience (spanning measuring patient-reported outcomes and quality of life and understanding the burden of disease); and coping with disease progression (including symptom mitigation, lung transplantation, and end-of-life considerations).


In identifying issues associated with emerging IPF treatments, we demonstrate the value of qualitative research in understanding the views of diverse stakeholders and in providing a basis for future survey research. As such, qualitative methods should play an important role in understanding the benefits and risks of emerging therapies and in promoting patient-centered drug development.


Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Interstitial Lung Disease Patient Experience Stakeholder Engagement Risk Tolerance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank the respondents for their participation. This study was funded by the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI) thanks to the support of InterMune. Barker and Kervitsky are employees of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF), a non-profit organization whose mission is to act as the trusted resource for all who are affected by this disease. Bridges has also received funding for speaking engagements and travel from InterMune. All authors contributed to the design of this study and writing of the manuscript. Bridges and Paly conducted and analyzed the data from the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. P. Bridges
    • 1
    • 2
  • Victoria Federico Paly
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Barker
    • 3
  • Dolly Kervitsky
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Health Policy and ManagementJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Center for Medicine in the Public InterestNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Pulmonary Fibrosis FoundationChicagoUSA

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