Raising the bar for MS: patients as partners

George Pepper, CEO of online ‘MSer’ community Shift.ms, talks to us about how we engage patients as meaningful partners in managing their condition and why this MS workstream will help tackle variance and raise the bar for people with MS.Shift.ms as a company are leading this workstream and George is a steering group representative for the overall national initiative to tackle MS service variance. Find out more about the workstream itself here or learn more about the background to this work.

Why is ensuring patients become equal partners in how they manage their condition so essential?

‘In a recent Shift.ms service evaluation, 96.8% of MSers agreed that taking an active part in their health is the most important thing that affects their health.Despite this recognition from the respondents to this survey (a subset of MSers who are already engaged in digital services such as Shift.ms), early investment is still required from healthcare professionals in empowering MSers who are not engaged in the management of their condition.The long term benefits of patients who take an active role in their condition are improved outcomes for the patients themselves and lower costs to the health service.’

What does the workstream hope to achieve?

‘Our vision is for inactive, disempowered patients to recognise the importance of taking an active role in their healthcare.We aim to develop a video-delivered patient activation course. The ambition is to ensure that the programme doesn't exacerbate the current variance in the UK, and instead the course will be accessible to all newly diagnosed MSers in the UK.The initiative will be developed in a modular way with face-to-face elements that provide opportunities for social connectivity and learnings around localised service provision.’

Who is the workstream aimed at?

‘The patients as partners workstream is for MSers, clinicians, commissioners and potential funders who are interested in learning about, and potentially taking part in, the development and delivery of a patient activation course for people newly diagnosed with MS.’
Encouraging excellence, developing leaders, inspiring change

MS Academy was established five years ago and in that time has accomplished a huge amount. The six different levels of specialist MS training are dedicated to case-based learning and practical application of cutting edge research. Home to national programme Raising the Bar and the fantastic workstream content it is producing, this is an exciting Academy to belong to.