Original article| Volume 75, 104728, July 2023

Healthcare utilization and satisfaction among enrolees in an online course about multiple sclerosis: A cross-sectional study


      • In this cohort, people living with MS utilised healthcare services significantly more than those not living with MS.
      • People living with MS were more likely to report being satisfied with the sufficiency, quality, and accessibility of their healthcare compared to people not living with MS.
      • Among both people living with and not living with MS, higher health literacy and healthcare utilization were associated with satisfaction with healthcare.



      Healthcare utilization and satisfaction are important for health outcomes among people living with multiple sclerosis (PwMS). However, there is little current evidence around healthcare utilization among PwMS, and less comparing PwMS to those not living with MS.


      To evaluate healthcare utilization and satisfaction among Understanding MS online course enrolees and to identify factors associated with healthcare satisfaction.


      In this international cross-sectional study, we evaluated participant characteristics (including health literacy and quality of life), healthcare utilization (number of visits, number of provider types), and satisfaction with healthcare (perceived healthcare sufficiency, quality, accessibility) among enrolees in the Understanding MS online course (N = 1068). We evaluated study outcomes using summary statistics. We compared participant characteristics and study outcomes between PwMS and those not living with MS using chi square and t-tests.


      In this study cohort, PwMS were older, less likely to have a university degree, had lower health literacy, and lower quality of life. PwMS had significantly more healthcare visits in the previous year and visited a more diverse range of provider types than those not living with MS. PwMS were also more likely to report being satisfied with the healthcare they received. Among both PwMS and those not living with MS, higher health literacy and higher healthcare utilization were significantly associated with satisfaction with healthcare sufficiency, quality, and accessibility.


      PwMS were more likely to be satisfied with the healthcare they received compared to those not living with MS. This may be due in part to the differences in health literacy and healthcare utilization between the two groups. We recommend that these relationships be rigorously assessed in future research.
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