Schiffmann I, Freund M, Vettorazzi E, Stellmann JP, Heyer-Borchelt S, D'Hooghe M, Häußler V, Rahn AC, Heesen C.

Background: While magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) plays a major role in the lives of people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS), studies have shown that MRI-specific knowledge in pwMS is limited. Moreover, poor knowledge was associated with negative feelings towards MRI (e.g. anxiety concerning MRI scan). Because information sources about MRI in MS for pwMS are not available, we designed and evaluated an evidence-based online educational platform about MRI in MS called „Understanding MRI in MS“ (UMIMS). Based on a pilot study in n= 79 subjects, an educational intervention was found to be feasible and effective. We hypothesize that MRI-specific knowledge can be increased by using UMIMS and that, subsequently, negative feelings towards MRI will be reduced and shared decision-making competences increased.

Methods: This randomized, controlled, double-blinded trial (RCT) will recruit n = 120 pwMS. The intervention group will receive access to UMIMS. The control group will get access to a specifically developed control website, which visually imitates UMIMS and contains the standard information available by several MS self-help organizations. The change in MRI-specific knowledge assessed via the MRI-risk knowledge questionnaire (MRI-RIKNO) after the intervention is the primary endpoint at 2 weeks. Several secondary endpoints will be assessed at different timepoints throughout the study, e.g. emotions towards MRI, autonomy preferences, threat by MS and shared decision-making competences. The study includes a process evaluation.

Discussion: The aim of this RCT is to prove that access to an education tool on MRI in MS will increase pwMS‘ MRI-specific knowledge and enhance shared decision-making when discussing decisions involving MRI results during patient-physician encounters.

Trials. 2020 Dec 9;21(1):1008.

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