The future of MS clinical care: views from an international MS community

The delivery of clinical care has been subject to unprecedented change over the last two years, with the pandemic requiring new formats and approaches to be trialled at speed. We’re now in a position where learnings made during the pandemic can influence the future makeup of clinical MS care, and there’s an opportunity to embed patient preferences in the design of future services.

The voice of the community

In 2021 we surveyed over 2,000 community members to capture MSer preferences about their future clinical care.

Our findings highlight virtual or remote care as being hugely beneficial, but not a cure-all. These unique insights provide an unprecedented opportunity to invite the voice of the MS community ‘into the room’ when you shape your services for the future.

Access to MS clinical care in general 

  • A surprising level of MSers are dissatisfied (42%) with the contact with MS clinical care teams, despite the pandemic
  • MSers newly diagnosed and MSers not receiving DMT were more likely to indicate they did not have enough contact (48% and 50%) 
  • A major obstacle for MSers in attending face-to-face appointments is the challenge imposed by their MS symptoms/disability, particularly for those with advanced MS

Experience with remote or virtual MS clinical care

  • During the previous 12 months, 74% MSers had a telephone or video call with their MS healthcare team, 51% had had face-to-face appointments
  • Telemedicine appointments (telephone or video) were considered by MSers to be the same or better than face-to-face visits by more than half of respondents, especially when appointments were via video

Preferences around the future of MS clinical care

  • There are varying degrees of confidence with use of technology and remote care via telemedicine, but the overwhelming majority see the role of telemedicine in the future of their MS care and believe technology improves their lives
  • The clinical experience needs to be considered from a patient perspective that manages expectations around the limitations of telemedicine and remote care, caters to lifestyle challenges and different confidence levels in engaging with technology, and preferences around which appointment types are better suited to being held face-to-face

With thanks to..

Shift.ms would like to thank all the MSers who took the time to provide their feedback on the survey and for sharing their experiences. We would like to thank the Neurology Academy for endorsing the survey and providing clinical feedback. Finally, we would like to thank Biogen, Bristol Myers Squibb, Merck, Novartis and Roche for supporting this project.