A review of multiple sclerosis (MS) services in the UK suggests data and technology could improve health outcomes for more than 100,000 people living with the condition.
‘Improving care for people with MS: the potential of data and technology’ unveils a series of proposals from healthcare, industry, and technology specialists, which they believe could transform MS services and commissioning.
The MS Society, which developed the report, says failing to better use data and technology will mean longer waiting times, difficulties monitoring treatments, and increasingly squeezed budgets.
Consultant Neurologist Dr David Rog, from Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, said: “MS services in the UK vary considerably and, despite the best efforts of dedicated teams, are under increasing pressure. Effective use of data and technology can change that, for example by empowering people with MS to self-manage. As a Global Digital Exemplar, our Trust has been on a real digital journey, and can now not only identify the thousands of people with MS under our care, the treatments they’re taking and how they use the service, but also the people who haven’t been seen, and how we’re performing.
“MS is a painful, unpredictable condition, and if simple changes can so obviously improve efficiency and sustainability, we can’t afford to ignore them – and nor can our patients.”
The report was developed in response to what the charity describes as an unacceptably slow pace of change in health and care services for people with MS, and the recognition that something must urgently be done to support self-management and address increasing NHS staff workloads.
Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive at the MS Society, said: “The potential of data and digital technology to improve outcomes in MS is so vast, what’s being used today barely begins to scratch the surface. Sadly, this means 100,000 people with MS in the UK are still facing needless variations in care and increasingly restricted access to services.