MS Society leads digitally-led care transformation

Report urges greater understanding of how digital innovation can help people with MS stay out of hospital, and empower them to take greater control over the quality of their lives.

James Hayes | 10th Jul 18
A report from the MS Society says that better use of digital technology can help people with MS stay out of hospital, and take greater control over their lives. Image:

The MS Society has published a ‘radical’ programme of data- and technology-driven change proposals which it believes could transform the way MS is treated and managed.

Its report, Improving Care for people with MS: the Potential of Data and Technology, includes change recommendations aimed at healthcare professionals, commissioners, and the third sector. Through these changes, the Society has argued, healthcare professionals can help people with MS stay out of hospital, and empower them to take greater control over their lives.

The report calls on stakeholders to take steps such as encouraging all NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups to assess use of local neurological services, to increase visibility of people with MS and improve service design and availability, and to evaluate existing MS digital tools (such as, apps) to increase effectiveness and enable recommendations from people with MS or health professionals.

It suggests using digital care plans to improve co-ordination between MS care professionals so they can analyse and share medical data and histories more easily.

It also calls on them to link prescription data to information about outcomes to help people with MS make better decisions about treatment, and target unwarranted variation in access, and help people with MS understand how their data will be used to encourage data-sharing.

The report marks the next step in the MS Society’s own digital transformation, following the launch of a new website earlier in 2018. It has been developed in response to an ‘unacceptably slow’ pace of change in health and care services for people with MS, which affects more than 100,000 people in the UK, the Society said..

“The potential of data and digital technology to improve outcomes in MS is so vast, [that] what is being used today barely begins to scratch the surface,” said Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive at the MS Society. “We hope this report will be a catalyst for change, so we can finally have personalised, coordinated services that meet the complex needs of people living with MS. The third sector has its part to play too, and we’re looking at ways to improve our own digital offering and leading by example.”