Aaron Boster, MD: MS Paths and Collecting Real-Time MS Data

OCTOBER 28, 2017
Matt Hoffman

Aaron Boster, MD, the systems medical chief of neuroimmunology at Ohio Health: One of the things that I'm really proud to participate in is a project called MS Paths, and MS Paths is an attempt at collecting real-world data, in real-time from real patients in the clinic. It's not exactly a traditional clinical trial, and there are 7 places throughout the world that are participating. What it boils down to is, when patients come into our center, as opposed to going through the typical rooming process where a medical assistant is doing the 9-hole peg test and doing validated surveys, they're doing all that automated on an iPad. And that information is immediately uploaded into our electronic medical record. If the patient consents, that information is also used and uploaded to a research cloud.

We've now collected 5,000 patients - the goal is 10,000. We want to follow them out past 5 to 10 years, and what's special about this is it's not a clinical trial. These are people working in Columbus, Ohio, that have MS that come into our center every 3 months to 6 months and when they come in, they go through a process where we collect validated measures and how they're doing. Now, it's automated, and not only is it automated, it's linked to the electronic medical record. There's no extra time for the patient, there's no extra time for the clinician.

The information, as I just shared, is very, very useful clinically. It also is a very rich dataset. In a traditional clinical trial, it's 2 years [long], the patients have no comorbidities, they're typically very, very young, they're typically ambulatory without assists. I'll be frank with you - that's not the real world. In the real world, people are older than 40. They have concomitant breast cancer or diabetes. They're in wheelchairs. And in a traditional trial, they're excluded. Here, no one's excluded, and so I feel very proud about that.

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