Background: Empowerment helps persons with a chronic disease to self-manage their condition and increase their autonomy and participation. MSmonitor (Curavista bv) is an interactive Web-based program for self-management and multidisciplinary care in multiple sclerosis (MS). It includes, among others, short questionnaires on fatigue (Modified Fatigue Impact Scale-5 [MFIS-5]) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL, Leeds Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life [LMSQoL]); long questionnaires on disabilities, perception of disabilities (Multiple Sclerosis Impact Profile), and HRQoL (Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life-54); a Medication and Adherence Inventory and an Activity Diary. The combination MFIS-5, LMSQoL, and Medication and Adherence Inventory constitutes the Quick Scan.
Objective: This study aimed to investigate the short-term effects of MSmonitor on empowerment in patients with MS.
Methods: We conducted a quasi-experimental study in a general hospital. Of the 180 patients with MS, 125 were eligible, 30 used MSmonitor, and 21 participated in the study (mean age 45.4 years, SD 10.2 years). A total of 24 eligible patients who did not use MSmonitor constituted the control group (mean age 49.3 years, SD 11.4 years). At baseline and at 4 months, we assessed self-efficacy (Multiple Sclerosis Self-Efficacy Scale [MSSES]), participation and autonomy (Impact on Participation and Autonomy [IPA] questionnaire), and self-management (Partners In Health [PIH] questionnaire). Differences between time points and groups were tested with paired t tests and χ² tests.
Results: In the MSmonitor group, follow-up values remained unchanged for MSSES control (P=.19), MSSES function (P=.62), IPA limitations (P=.26), IPA problems (P=.40), PIH recognition and management of symptoms (P=.52), PIH adherence to treatment (P=.80), and PIH coping (P=.73), whereas the PIH knowledge score had improved (mean 27.8, SD 1.7 vs mean 28.7, SD 2.0; P=.02). The overall utilization rate of the program components was 83% and that of the Quick Scan was 95%. In the control group, all outcomes had remained unchanged.
Conclusions: The results suggest that for first-time users of the MSmonitor program and their health care providers, it may not be justified to expect a short-term improvement in empowerment in terms of self-efficacy, self-management, autonomy, or participation. Furthermore, a lack of effect on empowerment is not because of nonusage of the program components.
Keywords: eHealth; empowerment; internet-based communication; internet-based intervention; multiple sclerosis; personal autonomy; self-efficacy; self-management; social participation.
©Peter Joseph Joseph Jongen, Gezien ter Veen, Wim Lemmens, Rogier Donders, Esther van Noort, Esther Zeinstra. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 09.03.2020.