Patient’s point of view on the use of telemedicine in multiple sclerosis: a web-based survey

Doriana Landi, Marta Ponzano, Carolina Gabri Nicoletti, Gaia Cola, Gianluca Cecchi, Alfonso Grimaldi, Giorgia Mataluni, Nicola Biagio Mercuri, Maria Pia Sormani, Guglielmo Pacileo, Girolama Alessandra Marfia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Restrictions in the access to healthcare facilities during COVID-19 pandemic have raised the need for remote monitoring of chronic medical conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS). In order to enable the continuity of care in these circumstances, many telemedicine applications are currently tested. While physicians’ preferences are commonly investigated, data regarding the patients’ point of view are still lacking. We built a 37 items web-based survey exploring patients’ propensity, awareness, and opinions on telemedicine with the aim to evaluate the sustainability of this approach in MS. Analysing 613 questionnaires out of 1093 that were sent to persons with MS followed at the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Tor Vergata University, Rome, we found that more than half of respondents (54%) were open to having a televisit. Propensity toward telemedicine significantly depended on having a higher income (p = 0.037), living farther from the center (p = 0.038), using computer and tablet (p = 0.010) and using the Internet for other remote activities (p < 0.001), conversely it was not influenced by any specific disease characteristics (i.e. degree of disability). The main advantages and disadvantages of televisit reported by participants were respectively saving time (70%) and impossibility to measure physical parameters (71%). Although the majority of respondents are in favour of televisit, so far this approach is restricted to those displaying better socioeconomic conditions and higher familiarity with technology. Implications of the study are that telemedicine platforms should be better tailored to patients’ demands in order to spread the use of telemedicine, to enhance usability and to increase patients’ adherence.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurological Sciences
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Remote monitoring
  • Survey
  • Telemedicine
  • Televisit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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