Web-Based Self-Management for Patients with Multiple Sclerosis: A Practical, Randomized Trial

Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.
Telemedicine and e-Health (Impact Factor: 1.54). 01/2011; 17(1):5-13. DOI: 10.1089/tmj.2010.0133
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT No studies have addressed the use of electronic personal health records (e-PHRs) for self-management in complex neurological disorders. We assessed and tested an Internet-based self-management system that utilized the e-PHR and determined its impact on self-assessed well-being, clinician-assessed well-being, and healthcare utilization in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Subjects were randomized to usual care (a secure Web-based messaging system) or active intervention, which included secure messaging, self-monitoring, self-management of MS symptoms, and communication about upcoming clinic visits. Computers and Internet access were provided. Subjects were included if they had MS, lived within the county or region surrounding our MS center, had at least two appointments at our center in the previous 12 months, and demonstrated basic typing and computer skills. Study duration was 12 months.
Of 220 subjects completing informed consent, 206 met the inclusion criteria. At the study's end, 83 subjects remained in the usual care group and 84 in the enhanced care group. Both groups used the available system components. The groups did not significantly differ on the primary endpoints or healthcare utilization.
Self-management support is an emerging aspect of chronic care management. We established the feasibility of conducting a randomized, controlled trial using e-PHRs for patient self-management. We did not find that e-PHR-enabled self-management augmented multidisciplinary MS center-based care, possibly because the differences between interventions were not great enough.

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