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A prospective web-based patient-centred interactive study of long-term disabilities, disabilities perception and health-related quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis in The Netherlands: the Dutch Multiple Sclerosis Study protocol: STUDY



























Netherlands Flag
Image source: OLSTARS

Abstract

Background:
In the past two decades the widespread use of disease modifying drugs with moderate to strong efficacy has changed the natural course of multiple sclerosis (MS). Health care professionals, researchers, patient organizations and health authorities are in need of recent information about the objectified and subjective long-term clinical outcomes in MS patients. Such information is scarce.

Methods/Design:
We started a prospective, web-based, patient-centred, interactive study of long-term disabilities, disabilities perception and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in MS patients in The Netherlands (Dutch Multiple Sclerosis Study). The study has an on online patient-driven inclusion and online acquisition of patient-reported outcomes (PROs). At six-months intervals participants complete the Multiple Sclerosis Impact Profile (MSIP) (disabilities and disabilities perception in seven domains and four symptoms), the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life-54 items (MSQoL-54), the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale-5 items (MFIS-5) and the Leeds Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life-8 items (LMSQoL) questionnaires, and a Medication and Adherence Inventory. Every three years the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score is assessed by phone. The monthly completion of the MFIS-5, LMSQoL and Medication and Adherence Inventory is optional. Completed questionnaires and inventories, and automatically generated scores are made available online to patients for self-monitoring and self-management purposes, and to authorized health care professionals for the evaluation of disease activity and of the effectiveness of treatments. Study duration is planned to be 15 years. Results will be analyzed periodically using means and standard deviations for continuous variables, and frequencies for categorical variables. Relations between time points, variables, patient and treatment characteristics will be evaluated in random effects repeated measures models.

Discussion:
The Dutch Multiple Sclerosis Study is characterized by online patient-driven inclusion; online data acquisition; the use of PROs; the optional monthly completion of short questionnaires; the interactive use of personal study data by patients and authorized health care professionals for self-monitoring, self-management and multidisciplinary care; the expected representativeness of the study sample; and a long-term time horizon. The study will provide valuable data on long-term disabilities, disabilities perceptions and HRQoL in MS patients in The Netherlands.

Conclusions:
The Dutch Multiple Sclerosis Study is a prospective, web-based, patient-centred, interactive, study of long-term disabilities, disabilities perception and HRQoL in patients with MS in the Netherlands. The innovative study design is characterized by online patient-driven inclusion; online data acquisition; the use of PROs; the optional frequent completion of short questionnaires; the interactive use of personal study data by patients and authorized health care professionals for self-monitoring, self-management and multidisciplinary care; the expected representativeness of the study sample; and the long-term time horizon. The study will provide valuable reference data on long-term disabilities, disabilities perceptions and HRQoL in MS patients in The Netherlands.

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