I couldn’t help but smile when I saw “MS Comprehensive Care: A Team Sport“ listed as the title of the John F. Kurtzke Memorial Lecture at the opening of the Consortium of MS Centers 2017 Annual Meeting. Kurtzke, according to the program, was a strong advocate of the team approach in MS care. The Consortium of MS Centers Annual Meeting brings together neurologists, therapists of all disciplines, social workers, and other support people who are part of providing medical care to people with multiple sclerosis and find their jobs as necessary to support a person with MS.
The multiple sclerosis clinic I go to is ahead of the curve in changing how providers care for people with MS in a comprehensive team way. I know this for a fact, because it was my own neurologist, Aaron Boster, MD, director of the OhioHealth Multiple Sclerosis Clinic, who gave this presentation, and he talked about what I experience each time I am in the clinic.
Boster was the driving force behind the design of the MS Clinic at OhioHealth, and his vision helped create a place where all of the services I might need can be accessed easily. The clinic design makes it possible for me to be seen by my neurologist or MS nurse, and meet for initial evaluations with physical therapists, speech therapists, and occupational therapists. They also have a wheelchair clinic and an adaptive equipment expert who can assist with repairs or selecting the right equipment. The infusion clinic also is on-site and supported by a great nursing staff. Think of one-stop shopping, and that is what I can get at my clinic.
There are many advantages to this comprehensive team approach beyond just having all of these services under one roof. They can offer true integrative care when the therapists and nurses have immediate access to my doctor for consultations. This idea of having everything at one location also saves me time and money. The first is obvious — I don’t have to make separate appointments to see the people who do the auxiliary care because they come to the exam room after I am done with my neurologist. For many of them, if I were to see them separately at a different facility, I would have additional medical copays. Seeing them as part of my MS neurology appointment saves me that cost as well.
They have built a patient advisory board to help make sure that future programs and services they develop will fit the needs of the patients, Boster said. An example of patient need is that they recently expanded their infusion clinic offices from the regular hours of Monday-Friday, 8-5, to a later closing time of 7 p.m., and added Saturday hours, hoping to ease scheduling conflicts for people with MS.
Boster clearly articulated what they offer at OhioHealth MS Clinic and then laid out what he sees as the future of MS care. He sees the non-traditional doctor visit eventually making up 50% or more of MS neurology appointments and will include delivering care via telemedicine and e-visits. In-home services, such as infusions, will become more common. As the disease-modifying therapies have become more efficacious, he says the focus in care will shift to preventive medicine and vocational support, and challenged his audience to think of ways they can adopt even small pieces of comprehensive care in their clinics. Their MS clinic already has expanded services in their area of Ohio to include satellite offices and more accessible care.
“It was an honor beyond words to present the Kurtzke Memorial lecture,” Boster said. “Moreover, it was really fun to share with my peers our interpretation of patient-centered, interdisciplinary, comprehensive care.”
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.