Observational Study Assessing Demographic, Economic and Clinical Factors Associated with Access and Utilization of Health Care Services of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis under Treatment with Interferon Beta-1b (EXTAVIA)
AuthorHadjigeorgiou, G.; Dardiotis, E.; Tsivgoulis, G.; Doskas, T.; Petrou, D.; Makris, N.; Vlaikidis, N.; Thomaidis, T.; Kyritsis, A.; Fakas, N.; Treska, X.; Karageorgiou, C.; Sotirli, S.; Giannoulis, C.; Papadimitriou, D.; Mylonas, I.; Kouremenos, E.; Vlachos, G.; Georgiopoulos, D.; Mademtzoglou, D.; Vikelis, M.; Zintzaras, E.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) results in an extensive use of the health care system, even within the first years of diagnosis. The effectiveness and accessibility of the health care system may affect patients' quality of life. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the health care resource use of MS patients under interferon beta-1b (EXTAVIA) treatment in Greece, the demographic or clinical factors that may affect this use and also patient satisfaction with the health care system. Structured interviews were conducted for data collection. In total, 204 patients (74.02% females, mean age (SD) 43.58 (11.42) years) were enrolled in the study. Analysis of the reported data revealed that during the previous year patients made extensive use of health services in particular neurologists (71.08% visited neurologists in public hospitals, 66.67% in private offices and 48.53% in insurance institutes) and physiotherapists. However, the majority of the patients (52.45%) chose as their treating doctor private practice neurologists, which may reflect accessibility barriers or low quality health services in the public health system. Patients seemed to be generally satisfied with the received health care, support and information on MS (84.81% were satisfied from the information provided to them). Patients' health status (as denoted by disease duration, disability status and hospitalization needs) and insurance institute were found to influence their visits to neurologists. Good adherence (up to 70.1%) to the study medication was reported. Patients' feedback on currently provided health services could direct these services towards the patients' expectations.