MS Patients and Healthcare Providers Report Success of MSdialog App in Tracking Disease

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An international research team recently reported that the web-based MSdialog app is being adopted by both multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and healthcare providers. The study is entitled “Patient and Physician Perspectives on MSdialog, an Electronic PRO Diary in Multiple Sclerosis” and was published in the journal The Patient – Patient-Centered Outcomes Research.

Merck Serono recently launched a web- and mobile-based software system called MSdialog, seeking to provide MS patients with more control over the management of their disease. The MSdialog app allows patients to track their personal health record, where individuals complete a periodic health questionnaire and can report on how MS impacts their life. The application also allows healthcare providers to monitor the patient’s treatment, adherence, clinical outcomes, and general health status.

In the study, the research team surveyed the opinion of 76 MS patient and 132 healthcare professionals (92 neurologists and 40 MS nurses) on the benefits of the MSdialog application. In addition, 39 MS patients participated in a training teleconference and underwent a 6-week pilot study to assess MSdialog usability through weekly health reports, two usability surveys (at weeks 3 and 6), and a follow-up telephone interview.

Researchers found that the benefits of MSdialog that were most helpful for MS patients were the ability to share information with healthcare providers and to report clinical outcomes. Most patients reported that the application “helps me remember what to mention to my doctor.” Healthcare providers, on the other hand, were found to be highly motivated by the data provided by the application in terms of patient-reported outcomes and treatment adherence. Concerning the pilot study, 87% of the MS patients enrolled noted that the completion of patient-reported outcomes via the MSdialog fit “fairly well” to “extremely well” into their weekly routine. At week 6, at the end of the trial, 77% of the MS patients were “very satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with their MSdialog experience, 82% reported that the application was better than other health tracking methods previously used, and 95% would recommend the use of the application.

The team concluded that the MSdialog application is user-friendly and superior to other methods of tracking patient health. The ability of the MSdialog to offer valuable information to healthcare providers allows for potential improvement in patient-physician communication and engagement in the management of the disease.

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Patrícia holds her PhD in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases from the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, The Netherlands. She has studied Applied Biology at Universidade do Minho and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon, Portugal. Her work has been focused on molecular genetic traits of infectious agents such as viruses and parasites.
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