The Feasibility of a Web-Based Educational Lifestyle Program for People With Multiple Sclerosis: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Front Public Health. 2022 Apr 27;10:852214. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.852214. eCollection 2022.

Abstract

Background: Modifiable lifestyle factors are important to aid people with multiple sclerosis in the self-management of their disease. Current self-management programs are limited by their face-to-face mode of delivery but there is immense potential with the internet to deliver these programs effectively.

Objective: The aims of this study are to assess the feasibility of a digitalized educational lifestyle self-management program for people with MS.

Methods: In this randomized controlled trial, people with MS were randomly allocated to participate in a 6-week tailored web-based educational lifestyle program or 6-week generic standard-care educational course, and were blinded to their allocation. Participants were recruited through multiple sclerosis (MS) Societies in four countries: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. The primary outcome was to assess acceptability of the program defined as percentage completion of all modules at 6-weeks post-course commencement. Secondary outcomes included evaluating participant responses to the follow-up survey across three domains: accessibility, learnability, and desirability.

Results: Thirty-five participants from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the US completed the baseline survey and were randomized. Four participants were deemed ineligible due to incomplete baseline data; therefore, nine out of 15 and eight out of 16 participants completed 100% of the course in the intervention and standard-care arm courses, respectively.

Conclusions: This study found that this web-based educational lifestyle program is a feasible means of delivering educational content to people with MS via the internet according to our a priori targets of >40% of participants in the intervention arm, and >25% in the control arm to completing 100% of the course. It is therefore appropriate to evaluate this intervention further in a large, randomized controlled trial.

Trial registration: This study was prospectively registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ID: ACTRN12621000245897).

Keywords: digital health (ehealth); education; ehealth; lifestyle; multiple sclerosis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Life Style
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / therapy

Associated data

  • ANZCTR/ACTRN12621000245897