MS is a complex disease that requires a well- educated workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic added to that complexity- from the lack of knowledge of viral behavior, to the possible impact of disease modifying therapy on the susceptibility of contracting COVID-19, to the prognosis of MS patients with COVID-19. To help meet the educational needs of MS healthcare professionals during the unprecedented pandemic, the National MS Society (NMSS) and the Consortium of MS Centers (CMSC) collaborated to develop a professional educational program to provide emerging, evidence-based information on MS and COVID-19.
Participants will 1) have easy access to emerging, evidence-based content on COVID-19 and the impact on people living with MS, 2) gain knowledge about MS and COVID-19.
An educational program entitled MS and COVID-19: A Webinar for Healthcare Providers was initiated on March 19, 2020. The series has consisted of 1-hour webinars (six as of July 1) on topics identified by healthcare providers including: overview of COVID-19; infection risk for people living with MS; impact of disease modifying therapies on infection and prognosis of MS patients; and outcomes from the COViMS data registry. Each webinar included a 50-minute town-hall style presentation based upon questions submitted by webinar registrants followed by a 10-minute facilitated question and answer session. Participants had the option to attend a live webinar or view a recorded presentation. Following the live webinars, all registrants were sent a link to the webinar recording and a program evaluation survey.
Results: As of July 1, 2020, 4,763 healthcare providers attended the live or recorded webinars and 273 responded to the program evaluation survey which included topic specific and non-topic related survey questions. Survey results indicated 78% of respondents reported improved knowledge of COVID-19 and 73% reported improved confidence in discussing COVID-19 with their MS patients. Additionally, 72% reported they planned to make a change in their practice as a result of webinar participation and 86% would recommend the National MS Society to a colleague.
Conclusions: The MS and COVID-19 webinar series is an important collaborative effort between the NMSS and CMSC, engaging a wide variety of healthcare providers including pioneers in specialized MS care, and introduced the MS community to providers and researchers at the forefront of COVID research and care. The series provided healthcare providers with timely, free, and easily accessible professional education in a time of crisis. Survey results indicate that the webinar provided much needed information on COVID-19 and its impact on patients living with MS to participants.