Association between clinic-level quality of care and patient-level outcomes in multiple sclerosis

Anna H. He, Ali Manouchehrinia, Anna Glaser, Olga Ciccarelli, Helmut Butzkueven, Jan Hillert, Kyla Anne McKay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) quality of care guidelines are consensus-based. The effectiveness of the recommendations is unknown. Objective: To determine whether clinic-level quality of care affects clinical and patient-reported outcomes. Methods: This nationwide observational cohort study included patients with adult-onset MS in the Swedish MS registry with disease onset 2005–2015. Clinic-level quality of care was measured by four indicators: visit density, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) density, mean time to commencement of disease-modifying therapy, and data completeness. Outcomes were Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and patient-reported symptoms measured by the Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale (MSIS-29). Analyses were adjusted for individual patient characteristics and disease-modifying therapy exposure. Results: In relapsing MS, all quality indicators benefitted EDSS and physical symptoms. Faster treatment, frequent visits, and higher data completeness benefitted psychological symptoms. After controlling for all indicators and individual treatment exposures, faster treatment remained independently associated with lower EDSS (−0.06, 95% confidence interval (CI): −0.01, −0.10) and more frequent visits were associated with milder physical symptoms (MSIS-29 physical score: −16.2%, 95% CI: −1.8%, −29.5%). Clinic-level quality of care did not affect any outcomes in progressive-onset disease. Conclusion: Certain quality of care indicators correlated to disability and patient-reported outcomes in relapse-onset but not progressive-onset disease. Future guidelines should consider recommendations specific to disease course.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1126-1135
Number of pages10
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • evidence-based healthcare
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • patient-reported outcome measures
  • quality of care

Cite this