Understanding the Importance of HCP-Patient Communication

The MS in the 21st century initiative

MS in the 21st Century (MS21) is an initiative by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, that began in 2011. It aims to define how MS treatment and standards of care should look like in the 21st century, giving new patient and HCP perspectives on MS care. 

A Steering Group was formed, comprising of international MS experts (neurologists, pharmacoeconomists, MS nurses and psychologists). Later, recognizing the importance of incorporating the patient voice into any work intended to impact patient quality of life, a corresponding patient Steering Group was formed. 

Work to date has focused on improving communication between patients and HCPs, raising awareness of hidden symptoms, and motivating patients to become advocates of self-management.

The group meets regularly to discuss the creation of programs and awareness to achieve the following objectives:

  • improve communication between patients and HCPs through joint education and interaction
  • improve awareness of, and access to, treatment and care
  • improve provision/access to information by: ensuring high-quality information from credible sources, increasing public awareness of MS, and focusing on e-medicine and e-education
  • promote patient activation and self-management by: highlighting the significance and benefits of self-management, empowering patients through education and communication, and improving the social well-being and integration of MS patients.