Bringing the light to #myinvisibleMS
Could telemedicine become a standard in the future for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS)? Absolutely. Patients with MS face barriers accessing specialty care for both evaluation and treatment on a regular basis. Telemedicine is a potential bridge to close this access gap due to distance and/or disability.
In 2019, the theme of World MS day was “#myinvisibleMS” and aimed to raise awareness of the invisible symptoms of MS and the unseen impact of MS on the quality of life of those affected. The hope was to challenge common misconceptions and help people understand how to provide the right support. When it comes to the use of telemedicine in the management of MS, the focus is on remote patient monitoring; which may bring light to the ‘invisible’ symptoms of MS, such as fatigue, confusion, and physical exhaustion1.
Telemedicine to clinically monitor MS patients has demonstrated great success in improving quality of life and reducing some of the many associated medical costs with this chronic illness2. Moreover, telemedicine has shown reliability in the assessment of neurological impairments, the potential to develop more sensitive measures, such as monitoring average daily walking activity3 and allows healthcare professionals to closely monitor some of the ‘invisible’ symptoms of the disease progression. Applications such as, MSAA: My MS Manager, SymTrac MS, MS Care Connect, and MS Self multiple sclerosis, contribute to the empowerment of patients, and help them adhere to their therapeutic and management regimen4. These apps can be utilized to collect information on the progress pattern of MS for each individual patient; valuable information for healthcare professionals.
Telemedicine in the monitoring of MS will continue to increase in the coming years, but larger and more controlled studies are necessary to confirm the beneficial effects of telemedicine in the delivery of the optimal care for MS patients5.
1. World MS day website, https://worldmsday.org/invisible-ms-story/
2. Sola-Valls, N. et al., 2015. Telemedicine for Monitoring MS Activity and Progression. Curr Treat Options Neurol, 17:47.
3. Sola-Valls, N. et al., 2015. Walking function in clinical monitoring of multiple sclerosis by telemedicine. J Neurol, 262:1706.
4. Salimzadeh, Z. et al., 2019. Mobile Applications for Multiple Sclerosis: A Focus on Self-Management. Acta inform med. 27(1): 12-18.
5. Yeroushalmi, S. et al., 2019. Telemedicine and Multiple Sclerosis: A Comprehensive Literature Review. J Telemedicine and Telecare. https://doi.org/10.1177/1357633X19840097