Research Article|Articles in Press, 104621

Healthcare utilisation and perceived healthcare accessibility and quality among people living with multiple sclerosis enrolled in an online course


      • Participants living with multiple sclerosis (MS) enrolled in an online course about MS reported being satisfied with their perceived healthcare quality and accessibility.
      • The number of healthcare visits, MS knowledge, health literacy, self-efficacy, and quality of life were all positively associated with perceived healthcare quality and accessibility in this cohort.
      • Participation in the Understanding MS massive open online course had no effect on healthcare utilization or perceived healthcare quality and accessibility.



      People living with multiple sclerosis (MS) need access to high quality healthcare and support services. However, many people with MS do not have access to the services that they need.


      To survey healthcare utilisation and perceived quality and accessibility among people living with MS who enrolled in a free online course about MS (the Understanding MS massive open online course (MOOC)) and to evaluate the impact of course completion on these outcomes.


      This longitudinal cohort study evaluated participants before they began the course, immediately following completion, and six months following completion. We describe baseline healthcare utilisation and perceived accessibility and quality (N=813) and identify factors associated with satisfaction using chi-square and t-tests. We evaluate the impact of course completion among a sub-group (N=123) of participants who both completed the course and completed all three assessments using paired t-tests. We determined effect size using Cohen's D.


      Most participants accessed at least one healthcare service in the month before beginning the course and were satisfied with their healthcare accessibility and quality. Participants who reported being satisfied with their healthcare quality and accessibility had more healthcare visits, and greater MS knowledge, health literacy, quality of life and self-efficacy. Completing the Understanding MS MOOC had no effect on perceived healthcare accessibility or quality.


      Our study suggests that people with MS who access online educational resources are likely to be well resourced in other areas as well. Our findings also suggest that a more targeted intervention may be necessary to improve healthcare accessibility and quality outcomes in people with MS.
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