Factors associated with neurologists’ provision of MS patient care
Neurologists are central to providing quality care for individuals with MS. However, neurologist shortages may restrict access to care for MS patients. To examine factors influencing neurologists’ provision of MS care, we surveyed 1,700 US neurologists to assess demographic/practice characteristics, training, and attitudes toward MS care. The study population consisted of 573 respondents: 87 (15.2%) MS subspecialists and 486 (84.8%) “other neurologists,” including subspecialists in other neurology areas (i.e., non-MS) and general neurologists. MS subspecialists indicating they “enjoy interacting with MS patients” had a significantly greater rate of MS patients seen per week. In separate analyses of the “other neurologists” group, the rate of MS patients seen was lower among neurologists in university-based groups or those practicing in major cities; female neurologists; and neurologists who indicated lack of sufficient knowledge regarding MS patient care. Rates of MS patients seen were significantly greater for other neurologists who agreed that MS care involved “ability to improve patient outcomes and quality of life”; “dynamic area with evolving treatment options”; and “enjoy interacting with MS patients.” Understanding factors influencing MS patient care by neurologists and developing policies for appropriate access to care is critical for optimal outcomes among this population.