Results Summary

PCORI funded the Pilot Projects to explore how to conduct and use patient-centered outcomes research in ways that can better serve patients and the healthcare community. Learn more.


For patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), treatment decisions can be complicated. Not all treatments work for every patient, and there is little information available for doctors and patients about how to choose among them. Symptoms can change over time, too, and treatment can be expensive. This makes it hard for patients to

  • Understand how their disease might change over time
  • Make decisions with their doctor about which treatment to choose
  • Project Purpose

The research team created an app called MS BioScreen that lets patients and doctors store information about a patient’s condition. In this study, patients used the app to compare their health information with information from other people with MS. The researchers then tested the app to see whether patients and doctors liked it and could use it.


Researchers built the app after holding meetings with medical experts and patients to get input on what the app should do and how people might use it. The app can compare a patient’s clinical information against a database of more than 2,500 patients whose health was monitored yearly for periods of 5 to 15 years.

The research team tested the app with 10 doctors and their patients with MS at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Multiple Sclerosis Center. The doctors asked their patients questions and entered the answers into the app on a tablet computer. The app compared each patient’s information with data from similar patients in the database. The app then predicted how the patient’s disease might change over time. The doctor and patient could look at the results together and discuss the best ways to manage the patient’s MS.


The MS Bioscreen app was able to find information about similar patients and predict how a patient’s disease might change in the future.

Doctors said the app made it easier to see each patient’s information in a single place. Doctors said having the information helped them teach patients about how their condition is likely to evolve and gave them more information to make decisions about treatment. When testing the app in real-life situations, both doctors and patients said that the app helped them talk about treatment decisions.


The information in the app comes mostly from two large clinics that study MS. The information from those patients might not look the same as data for all patients with MS across the country. Also, some people may not have access to a tablet computer and so will not be able to use the app.


The MS BioScreen app allows patients to compare their own clinical information with information from many other patients with MS. This could help patients and doctors understand how the disease might change over time and how to better treat each individual patient.

Patients and doctors agree that there is a need for an app like this that can help inform treatment decisions.

Sharing the Results

The research team published an article about the MS BioScreen app. The MS BioScreen app, which now includes even more information, will be tested with more patients at the UCSF Multiple Sclerosis Center.

More to Explore...

PCORI Stories

Tablet Tool Harnesses Data from Many Patients for Individual Choices
A narrative on how California experts in multiple sclerosis are devising a digital portal to predict disease course and guide medication choice.


A BioScreen for Multiple Sclerosis
Pierre-Antoine Gourraud, PhD, MPH talks about turning the BioScreen tool into an accessible source of information for patients to use with guidance from their clinicians.

Journal Citations

Project Information

Stephen Hauser, MD
University of California at San Francisco
A BioScreen for Multiple Sclerosis

Key Dates

June 2012
December 2014

Study Registration Information


Has Results
Award Type
Funding Opportunity Type
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: March 4, 2022