Background: ECHO MS is a videoconference-based education and case-consultation program that seeks to expand MS expertise. In Fall 2020, the National MS society partnered with the University of Washington, Washington University, and Duke University to launch the first national version of this program.
Objectives: To understand (1) the knowledge, skills, and confidence in MS care for participants who enroll in the ECHO MS program; and (2) how ratings differ based on key provider characteristics, such as whether one is a prescribing provider.
Methods: In fall 2020, ECHO MS recruited a diverse array of providers across the U.S. to enhance their knowledge, skills, and confidence in providing MS-focused care. At enrollment, participants completed a self-report survey assessing their knowledge, skills, and confidence in 19 areas spanning diagnosis, imaging, DMTs, relapses, symptom management, and patient resources. Each domain (knowledge, skill, confidence) included the same 19 areas. Participants rated themselves on a 0 (lowest) to 10 (highest) scale for each item. Descriptive analyses were conducted to understand the overall characteristics of the program participants. T-tests were conducted to examine between-group differences.
Results: A total of N=81 (of N=92, 88% response rate) healthcare professionals completed ECHO MS enrollment surveys. This included 52 prescribers (MD, ARNP, PA) and 29 non-prescribers (RN, PT, OT, SLP, pharmacist, psychologist). Between-group analyses revealed statistically significant group differences across 14/19 areas in each of three domains (knowledge, skill, confidence), such that prescribing providers rated themselves higher than non-prescribers on diagnosis, imaging, DMTs, and relapses (M=6.9-7.8 vs. M=2.6-4.9). Differences were marginal for symptom management (M =7.1-7.7 prescribers; M=4.7-5.8 non-prescribers) and there were no differences in understanding and using community resources (M=6.0-6.8 prescribers; M=5.9-6.5 non-prescribers).
Conclusions: A diverse population of providers participated in this first cohort of the national ECHO MS program. Results showed stark differences in knowledge, skill, and confidence between prescribing providers and non-prescribers. When running a program such as ECHO MS, it is important to consider how to structure the program to meet the needs of a diverse set of participants and/or to consider if separate ECHO MS programs should be run to more specifically target subsets of MS providers.