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Case study: OptiMiSe – evidence-based methods for clinical behaviour change

Allowing MS specialist nurses to see and demonstrate the value of their efforts

Published: 13 Jan 2019


Client: NA

Agency: Lucid

Campaign: Innovative, meetings-based learning journey for clinical behaviour change among multiple sclerosis specialist nurses

Timescale: N/A

A quick look

MS specialist nurses have witnessed a revolution in treatment options for MS. However, MS services are struggling under the pressure of a changing clinical landscape, resulting in too many patients experiencing delayed access to potentially life-changing treatment. Since 2016, the OptiMiSe programme has equipped MSSNs with the skills they need to provide the best possible patient-centric care – understanding each patient’s needs and driving improvements in service provision. OptiMiSe works in partnership with nurses to enable changes in behaviour that they want to make, and collects rigorous metrics that allow nurses to see and demonstrate the value of their efforts.


Multiple sclerosis specialist nurses (MSSNs) play a critical role in providing individualised, coordinated care for people with MS (pwMS). The role of MSSNs has changed significantly alongside the expansion of MS treatments and challenges to NHS service provision. These challenges all too often lead to pwMS being unable to access recommended care, with delays to treatment that could reduce potentially debilitating relapses and accumulation of disability.

The UK-wide results of an in-depth clinical practice survey at the outset of OptiMiSe gave insight into key barriers preventing optimal MS service provision. Skills gaps were reported by UK MSSNs across MDT working, patient-centric consultations, treatment monitoring and service development. While many services are nurse-led, nurses often did not believe that they were capable of driving service change.


To support rapid clinical behaviour change, we identified a live meeting forum as the optimal approach. OptiMiSe is an innovative, meetings- based learning journey with a focus on interactivity, practical content, sharing of best practice, goal-setting and action-planning – all evidence-based methods for behaviour change. Content evolves annually, and the expert nurse Steering Committee (SC) oversees the educational scope and format. Members of the SC are faculty members at annual and leadership-focused meetings, demonstrating their commitment to MSSN-led change and sharing how they have used learnings from OptiMiSe to drive changes in their services.

A key element of our approach is to empower MSSNs to make a change through self-reflection on practical implementation. A bespoke, stepwise template was designed to support reflections. Nurses are asked to commit to an action plan, which is followed up by the OptiMiSe team. Between meetings, nurses are also encouraged to refer to a purpose-built educational website, which contains a ‘Community Map’ of colleagues with experience specific to their action plan, who can be contacted for ideas, materials and support.


OptiMiSe meetings have been attended by over 100 MSSNs, with many returning for support to continue the development of their practice and services. Substantial improvements have been reported across the target areas – including MDT assessments performed, eliciting patient needs, organising and implementing treatment monitoring and contributing to business plans.

An ‘Outcomes Audit’ was designed with the SC and in-house health economists to provide a robust, quantitative assessment of impact on NHS performance and patient care measures. The pilot results of this groundbreaking audit were published at the 2018 MS Trust conference, and highlight a novel method to show cost savings that could be attributable to changes made following OptiMiSe, to justify study leave.

Client verdict

OptiMiSe has received positive feedback from the SC and delegates:

  • OptiMiSe is fundamentally different from other meetings programmes, it is structured around each nurse’s personal objectives, encouraging active participation, autonomous learning and passion for driving change.
  • I don’t know of any other educational event I’ve been to where an outcomes audit has been conducted – it’s new and exciting. We’re hoping to demonstrate changes in our individual clinical practice and as a community of nurses.
  • I have learnt so much from a great group of knowledgeable, friendly nurses. The meeting was inspiring!

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