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The state of multiple sclerosis: current insight into the patient/health care provider relationship, treatment challenges, and satisfaction

Authors Tintoré M, Alexander M, Costello K, Duddy M, Jones DE, Law N, O'Neill G, Uccelli A, Weissert R, Wray S

Received 16 June 2016

Accepted for publication 22 October 2016

Published 22 December 2016 Volume 2017:11 Pages 33—45

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PPA.S115090

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Mar Tintoré,1 Maggie Alexander,2 Kathleen Costello,3 Martin Duddy,4 David E Jones,5 Nancy Law,6 Gilmore O’Neill,7 Antonio Uccelli,8 Robert Weissert,9 Sibyl Wray10

1Multiple Sclerosis Centre of Catalonia, Hospital Vall d’Hebron, Barcelona, Spain; 2European Multiple Sclerosis Platform, Brussels, Belgium; 3National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Denver, CO, USA; 4Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK; 5Department of Neurology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA; 6Nancy Law Consulting LLC, Parker, CO, USA; 7Biogen, Cambridge, MA, USA; 8Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Research, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; 9Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany; 10Hope Neurology Multiple Sclerosis Center, Knoxville, TN, USA

Background: Managing multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment presents challenges for both patients and health care professionals. Effective communication between patients with MS and their neurologist is important for improving clinical outcomes and quality of life.
Methods: A closed-ended online market research survey was used to assess the current state of MS care from the perspective of both patients with MS (≥18 years of age) and neurologists who treat MS from Europe and the US and to gain insight into perceptions of treatment expectations/goals, treatment decisions, treatment challenges, communication, and satisfaction with care, based on current clinical practice.
Results: A total of 900 neurologists and 982 patients completed the survey, of whom 46% self-identified as having remitting-relapsing MS, 29% secondary progressive MS, and 11% primary progressive MS. Overall, patients felt satisfied with their disease-modifying therapy (DMT); satisfaction related to comfort in speaking with their neurologist and participation in their DMT decision-making process. Patients who self-identified as having relapsing-remitting MS were more likely to be very satisfied with their treatment. Top challenges identified by patients in managing their DMT were cost, side effects/tolerability of treatment, and uncertainty if treatment was working. Half of the patients reported skipping doses, but only 68% told their health care provider that they did so.
Conclusion: Several important differences in perception were identified between patients and neurologists concerning treatment selection, satisfaction, expectations, goals, and comfort discussing symptoms, as well as treatment challenges and skipped doses. The study results emphasize that patient/neurologist communication and patient input into the treatment decision-making process likely influence patient satisfaction with treatment.

Keywords: health care provider survey, multiple sclerosis, patient-health care provider relationship, patient survey, treatment expectations, treatment satisfaction

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