Innovative Medical Technology and the Treatment Decision-Making Process in Multiple Sclerosis: A Focus Group Study to Examine Patient Perspectives

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Abstract

Background: Disease-modifying therapies are given to people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to reduce disease progression and relapse frequency. Current modes of administration include oral, injectable and infusion therapy and the treatment decision-making process is complex. A novel mode of treatment administration, an implantable device, is currently under devel-opment, yet patient attitudes about the device are unknown. The aim of this study was 1) to understand the treatment decision-making process from the patient perspective and 2) to explore the possible acceptance of an implant to treat MS. Methods: Focus groups with people with MS were conducted in the Netherlands. Three topics were addressed: the treatment decision-making process, the current treatment land-scape, and attitudes about the implantable device. All focus groups were recorded and transcribed and data were analyzed by raw data coding and creating themes. An online survey was conducted in the Netherlands to quantify interest in an implant. Results: Two focus group sessions were held (n=16 participants) and n=93 persons filled out the survey. The main theme that emerged was the constant uncertainty persons with MS face throughout their disease course and during treatment decisions (when to start, stop, continue or switch treatment). Patients were generally positive towards the implant but felt that efficacy and safety should be guaranteed. Conclusion: People with MS want some form of control over their disease and treatment course. New medical technologies, such as an implant, may enhance the treatment landscape and with caution we postulate that it may be accepted by patients as a new mode of administration, though further research is needed. For medical technologies to be successful, patients should be engaged early on in the design process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-937
Number of pages11
JournalPatient Preference and Adherence
Volume15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2021

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