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Special Issue "eHealth in Chronic Diseases"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Digital Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Irene Torres-Sanchez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Physical Therapy Department, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Granada, 18016 Granada, Spain
Interests: physiotherapy; physical therapy; rehabilitation, respiratory medicine, cardio-respiratory fitness
Dr. Marie Carmen Valenza
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Physiotherapy Department, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Granada, 18011 Granada, Spain
Interests: physiotherapy; physical therapy; chronic diseases

Special Issue Information

In recent decades, the prevalence of chronic diseases has increased considerably. Effective management of these chronic conditions depends largely on continuous, responsive, and accessible quality services, and successful patient commitment and self-management. The handling of chronic diseases is a multidisciplinary process requiring close coordination and high engagement between chronic disease patients and healthcare professionals. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many health programs have transitioned rapidly towards remote delivery models. Electronic health (eHealth) solutions are put forward as a promising way to deliver health information and health care.

For this Special Issue “eHealth in Chronic Diseases” in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, we invite submissions that examine the use of eHealth in chronic diseases. This includes, but is not limited to, studies that examine how eHealth can help to prevent, evaluate, or treat chronic diseases and their outcomes. For example, studies using remote methods of assessment, interobserver agreement in remote assessment, and the implementation of internet-based interventions are welcome. The application of eHealth in the different areas of medicine and allied health professions will be considered.

This Special Issue offers an opportunity to publish high-quality multidisciplinary research and reviews that focus on eHealth in chronic diseases.

Dr. Irene Torres-Sanchez
Guest Editor
Dr. Marie Carmen Valenza
Assistant Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • eHealth
  • telehealth
  • telemedicine
  • telemonitoring
  • m-health
  • internet
  • chronic disease
  • chronic condition

Published Papers (21 papers)

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Research

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Article
Come for Information, Stay for Support: Harnessing the Power of Online Health Communities for Social Connectedness during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12743; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182312743 - 03 Dec 2021
Viewed by 316
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic created a globally shared stressor that saw a rise in the emphasis on mental and emotional wellbeing. However, historically, these topics were not openly discussed, leaving those struggling without professional support. One powerful tool to bridge the gap and facilitate [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic created a globally shared stressor that saw a rise in the emphasis on mental and emotional wellbeing. However, historically, these topics were not openly discussed, leaving those struggling without professional support. One powerful tool to bridge the gap and facilitate connectedness during times of isolation is online health communities (OHCs). This study surveyed Health Union OHC members during the pandemic to determine the degree of COVID-19 concern, social isolation, and mental health distress they are facing, as well as to assess where they are receiving information about COVID-19 and what sources of support they desire. The survey was completed in six independent waves between March 2020 and April 2021, and garnered 10,177 total responses. In the United States, OHCs were utilized significantly more during peak lockdown times, and the desire for emotional and/or mental health support increased over time. Open-ended responses demonstrated a strong desire for connection and validation, which are quintessential characteristics of OHCs. Through active moderation utilizing trained moderators, OHCs can provide a powerful, intermediate and safe space where conversations about mental and emotional wellbeing can be normalized and those in need are encouraged to seek additional assistance from healthcare professionals if warranted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Article
Building a Research Roadmap for Caregiver Innovation: Findings from a Multi-Stakeholder Consultation and Evaluation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12291; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182312291 - 23 Nov 2021
Viewed by 372
Abstract
Across the world, informal (unpaid) caregiving has become the predominant model for community care: in the UK alone, there are an estimated 6.5 million caregivers supporting family members and friends on a regular basis, saving health and social care services approximately £132 billion [...] Read more.
Across the world, informal (unpaid) caregiving has become the predominant model for community care: in the UK alone, there are an estimated 6.5 million caregivers supporting family members and friends on a regular basis, saving health and social care services approximately £132 billion per year. Despite our collective reliance on this group (particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic), quality of life for caregivers is often poor and there is an urgent need for disruptive innovations. The aim of this study was to explore what a future roadmap for innovation could look like through a multi-stakeholder consultation and evaluation. An online survey was developed and distributed through convenience sampling, targeting both the informal caregiver and professionals/innovators interested in the caregiver demographic. Data were analysed using both quantitative (summary statistics) and qualitative (inductive thematic analysis) methods in order to develop recommendations for future multi-stakeholder collaboration and meaningful innovation. The survey collected 174 responses from 112 informal caregivers and 62 professionals/innovators. Responses across these stakeholder groups identified that there is currently a missed opportunity to harness the value of the voice of the caregiver demographic. Although time and accessibility issues are considerable barriers to engagement with this stakeholder group, respondents were clear that regular contributions, ideally no more than 20 to 30 min a month could provide a realistic route for input, particularly through online approaches supported by community-based events. In conclusion, the landscape of digital health and wellness is becoming ever more sophisticated, where both industrial and academic innovators could establish new routes to identify, reach, inform, signpost, intervene and support vital and vulnerable groups such as the caregiver demographic. Here, the findings from a consultation with caregivers and professionals interested in informal caring are presented to help design the first stages of a roadmap through identifying priorities and actions that could help accelerate future research and policy that will lead to meaningful and innovative solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Article
Patient Experience and Satisfaction with an e-Health Care Management Application for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(22), 11747; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182211747 - 09 Nov 2021
Viewed by 382
Abstract
Background: Rising healthcare expenditures have been partially attributed to suboptimal management of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Electronic health interventions may help improve care management for IBD patients, but there is a need to better understand patient perspectives on these emerging technologies. Aims: The [...] Read more.
Background: Rising healthcare expenditures have been partially attributed to suboptimal management of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Electronic health interventions may help improve care management for IBD patients, but there is a need to better understand patient perspectives on these emerging technologies. Aims: The primary aim was to evaluate patient satisfaction and experience with the UCLA eIBD mobile application, an integrative care management platform with disease activity monitoring tools and educational modules. The secondary objective was to capture patient feedback on how to improve the mobile application. Methods: We surveyed IBD patients treated at the UCLA Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. The patient experience survey assessed the patients’ overall satisfaction with the application, perception of health outcomes after participation in the program, and feedback on educational modules as well as areas for application improvement. Results: 50 patients were included. The responses indicated that the patients were greatly satisfied with the ease of patient–provider communication within the application and appointment scheduling features (68%). A majority of respondents (54%) also reported that program participation resulted in improved perception of disease control and quality of life. Lastly, a majority of participants (79%) would recommend this application to others. Conclusions: Mobile tools such as UCLA eIBD have promising implications for integration into patients’ daily lives. This patient satisfaction study suggests the feasibility of using this mobile application by patients and providers. We further showed that UCLA eIBD and its holistic approach led to improved patient experience and satisfaction, which can provide useful recommendations for future electronic health solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Article
An eCoach-Pain for Patients with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain in Interdisciplinary Primary Care: A Feasibility Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11661; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182111661 - 06 Nov 2021
Viewed by 512
Abstract
eHealth could support cost-effective interdisciplinary primary care for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain. This study aims to explore the feasibility of the eCoach-Pain, comprising a tool measuring pain complexity, diaries, pain education sessions, monitoring options, and chat function. Feasibility was evaluated (June–December 2020) [...] Read more.
eHealth could support cost-effective interdisciplinary primary care for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain. This study aims to explore the feasibility of the eCoach-Pain, comprising a tool measuring pain complexity, diaries, pain education sessions, monitoring options, and chat function. Feasibility was evaluated (June–December 2020) by assessing learnability, usability, desirability, adherence to the application, and experiences from patients and general practitioners, practice nurses mental health, and physiotherapists. Six primary healthcare professionals (PHCPs) from two settings participated in the study and recruited 29 patients (72% female, median age 50.0 years (IQR = 24.0)). PHCPs participated in a focus group. Patient data was collected by evaluation questionnaires, individual interviews, and eCoach-Pain-use registration. Patients used the eCoach during the entire treatment phase (on average 107.0 days (IQR = 46.0); 23 patients completed the pain complexity tool and used the educational sessions, and 12 patients the chat function. Patients were satisfied with the eCoach-Pain (median grade 7.0 (IQR = 2.8) on a 0–10 scale) and made some recommendations for better fit with patient-specific complaints. According to PHCPs, the eCoach-Pain is of added value to their treatment, and patients also see treatment benefits. However, the implementation strategy is important for successful use of the eCoach-Pain. It is recommended to improve this strategy and involve a case-manager per patient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Article
Description of e-Health Initiatives to Reduce Chronic Non-Communicable Disease Burden on Brazilian Health System
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10218; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph181910218 - 28 Sep 2021
Viewed by 598
Abstract
Chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD) account for 72% of the causes of death in Brazil. In 2013, 54 million Brazilians reported having at least one NCD. The implementation of e-Health in the Unified Health System (SUS) could fill gaps in access to health in [...] Read more.
Chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD) account for 72% of the causes of death in Brazil. In 2013, 54 million Brazilians reported having at least one NCD. The implementation of e-Health in the Unified Health System (SUS) could fill gaps in access to health in primary health care (PHC). Objective: to demonstrate telehealth strategies carried out within the scope of the Institutional Development Support Program of the Unified Health System (PROADI-SUS) and developed by Hospital Alemão Oswaldo Cruz, between 2018 and 2021, on evaluation, supply, and problem-solving capacity for patients with NCDs. Methodology: a prospective and descriptive study of three projects in the telehealth areas, using document analysis. The Brasil Redes project used availability, implementation, and cost-effectiveness analysis, TELEconsulta Diabetes is a randomized clinical trial, and Regula Mais Brasil is focused on the waiting list for regulation of specialties. All those strategies were developed within the scope of the SUS. Results: 161 patients were attended by endocrinology teleconsultation in one project and another two research projects, one evaluating Brazil’s Telehealth Network Program, and another evaluating effectiveness and safety of teleconsultation in patients with diabetes mellitus referred from primary care to specialized care in SUS. Despite the discrepancy in the provision of telehealth services in the country, there was an increase in access to specialized care on the three projects and especially on the Regula Mais Brasil Collaborative project; we observed a reduction on waiting time and favored distance education processes. Conclusion: the three projects offered subsidies for decision-making by the Ministry of Health in e-Health and two developed technologies that could be incorporated into SUS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Article
Cross Sectional E-Health Evaluation Study for Telemedicine and M-Health Approaches in Monitoring COVID-19 Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8513; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18168513 - 12 Aug 2021
Viewed by 846
Abstract
Monitoring COVID-19 patients with COPD has become one of the major tasks in preventing transmission and delivering emergency healthcare services after vaccination in case of any issues. Most COVID-19-affected patients are suggested to self-quarantine at home or in institutionalized quarantine centers. In such [...] Read more.
Monitoring COVID-19 patients with COPD has become one of the major tasks in preventing transmission and delivering emergency healthcare services after vaccination in case of any issues. Most COVID-19-affected patients are suggested to self-quarantine at home or in institutionalized quarantine centers. In such cases, it is essential to provide remote healthcare services. For remote healthcare monitoring, two approaches are being considered in this study, which include mHealth and Telehealth. A mixed-methods approach is adopted, where survey questionnaires are used for collecting information from 108 patients and semi-structured interviews are used with seven physicians regarding mHealth and Telehealth approaches. Survey results indicated that mHealth is rated to be slightly more effective than Telehealth, and interview results indicated that Telehealth is identified to be slightly more effective than mHealth in relation to parameters including usefulness, ease of use and learnability, interface and interaction quality, reliability, and satisfaction. However, both physicians and patients opined that both mHealth and Telehealth have a promising future with increasing adoption. Based on the findings, it can be concluded that both mHealth and Telehealth are considered to be effective in delivering remote care for COPD patients infected with COVID-19 at home. Implications of the study findings are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Article
How Can We Develop an Efficient eHealth Service for Provision of Care for Elderly People with Balance Disorders and Risk of Falling? A Mixed Methods Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7410; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18147410 - 11 Jul 2021
Viewed by 832
Abstract
This study aimed to identify relevant topics for the development of an efficient eHealth service for elderly people with balance disorders and risk of falling, based on input from physicians providing healthcare to this patient group. In the quantitative part of the study, [...] Read more.
This study aimed to identify relevant topics for the development of an efficient eHealth service for elderly people with balance disorders and risk of falling, based on input from physicians providing healthcare to this patient group. In the quantitative part of the study, an open multiple-choice questionnaire was made available on the website of the Portuguese General Medical Council to assess the satisfaction with electronic medical records regarding clinical data available, the time needed to retrieve data and the usefulness of the data. Of the 118 participants, 55% were dissatisfied/very dissatisfied with data availability and 61% with the time spent to access and update data related to the focused patient group. Despite this negative experience, 76% considered future e-Health solutions as pertinent/very pertinent. Subsequently, these findings were further explored with eight semi-structured interviews. The physicians confirmed the reported dissatisfactions and pointed out the lack of comprehensive data and system interoperability as serious problems, causing inefficient health services with an overlap of emergency visits and uncoordinated diagnostics and treatment. In addition, they discussed the importance of camera and audio monitoring to add significant value. Our results indicate considerable potential for e-Health solutions, but substantial improvements are crucial to achieving such future solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Article
Pattern of Use of Electronic Health Record (EHR) among the Chronically Ill: A Health Information National Trend Survey (HINTS) Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7254; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18147254 - 07 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1140
Abstract
Effective patient–provider communication is a cornerstone of patient-centered care. Patient portals provide an effective method for secure communication between patients or their proxies and their health care providers. With greater acceptability of patient portals in private practices, patients have a unique opportunity to [...] Read more.
Effective patient–provider communication is a cornerstone of patient-centered care. Patient portals provide an effective method for secure communication between patients or their proxies and their health care providers. With greater acceptability of patient portals in private practices, patients have a unique opportunity to manage their health care needs. However, studies have shown that less than 50% of patients reported accessing the electronic health record (EHR) in a 12-month period. We used HINTS 5 cycle 1 and cycle 2 to assess disparities among US residents 18 and older with any chronic condition regarding the use of EHR for secure direct messaging with providers, to request refills, to make clinical decisions, or to share medical records with another provider. The results indicate that respondents with multimorbidity are more likely to share their medical records with other providers. However, respondents who are 75 and older are less likely to share their medical records with another provider. Additionally, respondents who are 65 and older are less likely to use the EHR for secure direct messaging with their provider. Additional health care strategies and provider communication should be developed to encourage older patients with chronic conditions to leverage the use of patient portals for effective disease management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
Article
Monitoring Patients Reported Outcomes after Valve Replacement Using Wearable Devices: Insights on Feasibility and Capability Study: Feasibility Results
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 7171; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18137171 - 04 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 910
Abstract
Wearable devices (WDs) can objectively assess patient-reported outcomes (PROMs) in clinical trials. In this study, the feasibility and acceptability of using commercial WDs in elderly patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) or surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) will be explored. This is [...] Read more.
Wearable devices (WDs) can objectively assess patient-reported outcomes (PROMs) in clinical trials. In this study, the feasibility and acceptability of using commercial WDs in elderly patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) or surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) will be explored. This is a prospective observational study. Participants were trained to use a WD and a smartphone to collect data on their physical activity, rest heart rate and number of hours of sleep. Validated questionnaires were also used to evaluate these outcomes. A technology acceptance questionnaire was used at the end of the follow up. In our participants an overall good compliance in wearing the device (75.1% vs. 79.8%, SAVR vs. TAVR) was assessed. Half of the patients were willing to continue using the device. Perceived ease of use is one of the domains that scored higher in the technology acceptance questionnaire. In this study we observed that the use of a WD is accepted in our frail population for an extended period. Even though commercial WDs are not tailored for clinical research, they can produce useful information on patient behavior, especially when coordinated with intervention tailored to the single patient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Article
Assessment of Glycosylated Hemoglobin Outcomes Following an Enhanced Medication Therapy Management Service via Telehealth
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6560; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18126560 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 760
Abstract
(1) Background: Regular contact with a medication therapy management (MTM) pharmacist is shown to improve patients’ understanding of their condition; however, continued demonstration of the value of a pharmacist delivered comprehensive medication review (CMR) using enhanced MTM services via telehealth is needed. The [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Regular contact with a medication therapy management (MTM) pharmacist is shown to improve patients’ understanding of their condition; however, continued demonstration of the value of a pharmacist delivered comprehensive medication review (CMR) using enhanced MTM services via telehealth is needed. The study aimed to describe a pilot program designed to improve type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) management through enhanced condition specific MTM services. (2) Methods: This retrospective study included patients with T2DM aged 40–75 years who received a pharmacist-delivered CMR between January and December 2018. An evaluation of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) values 3 months pre- and post-CMR was performed. Wilcoxon signed-rank and chi-square tests were used. (3) Results: Of 444 eligible patients, a majority were female (58%) with a median age of 70 years. Median HbA1c values post-CMR were lower than pre-CMR (median 7.1% range 4.5–13.6; median 7.4% range 4.5–13.9, respectively; p = 0.009). There were fewer participants with HbA1c >9% post-CMR (n = 66) than pre-CMR (n = 80; p < 0.001) and more with HbA1C <6.5% post-CMR (n = 151) than pre-CMR (n = 130; p < 0.001). (4) Conclusion: This program evaluation highlighted the value of an enhanced condition specific MTM service via telehealth. Patients had improved HbA1c values three months after receiving a single pharmacist delivered CMR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
Article
Digital Health Transition in Rheumatology: A Qualitative Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2636; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18052636 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1425
Abstract
The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to drastic changes in the management of patients with rheumatic diseases. Due to the imminent risk of infection, monitoring intervals of rheumatic patients have prolonged. The aim of this study is to present insights from patients, rheumatologists, [...] Read more.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to drastic changes in the management of patients with rheumatic diseases. Due to the imminent risk of infection, monitoring intervals of rheumatic patients have prolonged. The aim of this study is to present insights from patients, rheumatologists, and digital product developers on the ongoing digital health transition in rheumatology. A qualitative and participatory semi-structured fishbowl approach was conducted to gain detailed insights from a total of 476 participants. The main findings show that digital health and remote care are generally welcomed by the participants. Five key themes emerged from the qualitative content analysis: (1) digital rheumatology use cases, (2) user descriptions, (3) adaptation to different environments of rheumatology care, and (4) potentials of and (5) barriers to digital rheumatology implementation. Codes were scaled by positive and negative ratings as well as on micro, meso, and macro levels. A main recommendation resulting from the insights is that both patients and rheumatologists need more information and education to successfully implement digital health tools into clinical routine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Review

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Review
Efficacy of Web-Based Supportive Interventions in Quality of Life in COPD Patients, a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12692; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182312692 - 02 Dec 2021
Viewed by 295
Abstract
Background: Adults living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) often have difficulties when trying to access health care services. Interactive communication technologies are a valuable tool to enable patients to access supportive interventions to cope with their disease. The aim of this revision [...] Read more.
Background: Adults living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) often have difficulties when trying to access health care services. Interactive communication technologies are a valuable tool to enable patients to access supportive interventions to cope with their disease. The aim of this revision and meta-analysis is to analyze the content and efficacy of web-based supportive interventions in quality of life in COPD. Methods: Medline (via PubMed), Web of Science, and Scopus were the databases used to select the studies for this systematic review. A screening, analysis, and assessment of the methodological quality was carried out by two independent researchers. A meta-analysis of the extracted data was performed. Results: A total of 9 of the 3089 studies reviewed met the inclusion criteria. Most repeated web content elements were educational and involved communication with healthcare professional content. Finally, seven of the nine studies were included in a quantitative analysis. Web-based supportive interventions significantly improved quality of life when added to usual care (SMD = −1.26, 95% CI = −1.65, −0.86; p < 0.001) but no significant differences were found when compared with an autonomous pedometer walking intervention (p = 0.64) or a face-to-face treatment (p = 0.82). Conclusion: This systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that web-based supportive interventions may complement or accompany treatments in COPD patients due to the advantages of online interventions. The results obtained should be treated with caution due to the limited number of studies in this area and methodological weaknesses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Review
Open Issues and Practical Suggestions for Telemedicine in Chronic Pain
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12416; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182312416 - 25 Nov 2021
Viewed by 274
Abstract
Telemedicine represents a major opportunity to facilitate continued assistance for patients with chronic pain and improve their access to care. Preliminary data show that an improvement can be expected of the monitoring, treatment adherence, assessment of treatment effect including the emotional distress associated [...] Read more.
Telemedicine represents a major opportunity to facilitate continued assistance for patients with chronic pain and improve their access to care. Preliminary data show that an improvement can be expected of the monitoring, treatment adherence, assessment of treatment effect including the emotional distress associated with pain. Moreover, this approach seems to be convenient and cost-effective, and particularly suitable for personalized treatment. Nevertheless, several open issues must be highlighted such as identification of assessment tools, implementation of monitoring instruments, and ability to evaluate personal needs and expectations. Open questions exist, such as how to evaluate the need for medical intervention and interventional procedures, and how to define when a clinical examination is required for certain conditions. In this context, it is necessary to establish dynamic protocols that provide the right balance between face-to-face visits and telemedicine. Useful tips are provided to start an efficient experience. More data are needed to develop precise operating procedures. In the meantime, the first experiences from such settings can pave the way to initiate effective care pathways in chronic pain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Review
Methods Used to Evaluate mHealth Applications for Cardiovascular Disease: A Quasi-Systematic Scoping Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12315; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182312315 - 23 Nov 2021
Viewed by 364
Abstract
In the face of demographic change and constantly increasing health care costs, health care system decision-makers face ever greater challenges. Mobile health applications (mHealth apps) have the potential to combat this trend. However, in order to integrate mHealth apps into care structures, an [...] Read more.
In the face of demographic change and constantly increasing health care costs, health care system decision-makers face ever greater challenges. Mobile health applications (mHealth apps) have the potential to combat this trend. However, in order to integrate mHealth apps into care structures, an evaluation of such apps is needed. In this paper, we focus on the criteria and methods of evaluating mHealth apps for cardiovascular disease and the implications for developing a widely applicable evaluation framework for mHealth interventions. Our aim is to derive substantiated patterns and starting points for future research by conducting a quasi-systematic scoping review of relevant peer-reviewed literature published in English or German between 2000 and 2021. We screened 4066 articles and identified n = 38 studies that met our inclusion criteria. The results of the data derived from these studies show that usability, motivation, and user experience were evaluated primarily using standardized questionnaires. Usage protocols and clinical outcomes were assessed primarily via laboratory diagnostics and quality-of-life questionnaires, and cost effectiveness was tested primarily based on economic measures. Based on these findings, we propose important considerations and elements for the development of a common evaluation framework for professional mHealth apps, including study designs, data collection tools, and perspectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Review
An Updated Meta-Analysis of Remote Blood Pressure Monitoring in Urban-Dwelling Patients with Hypertension
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(20), 10583; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182010583 - 09 Oct 2021
Viewed by 522
Abstract
Following the coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic, this study aimed to evaluate the overall effects of remote blood pressure monitoring (RBPM) for urban-dwelling patients with hypertension and high accessibility to healthcare and provide updated quantitative summary data. Of 2721 database-searched articles from RBPM’s inception to [...] Read more.
Following the coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic, this study aimed to evaluate the overall effects of remote blood pressure monitoring (RBPM) for urban-dwelling patients with hypertension and high accessibility to healthcare and provide updated quantitative summary data. Of 2721 database-searched articles from RBPM’s inception to November 2020, 32 high-quality studies (48 comparisons) were selected as primary data for synthesis. A meta-analysis was undertaken using a random effects model. Primary outcomes were changes in office systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) following RBPM. The secondary outcome was the BP control rate. Compared with a usual care group, there was a decrease in SBP and DBP in the RBPM group (standardized mean difference 0.507 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.339–0.675, p < 0.001; weighted mean difference [WMD] 4.464 mmHg, p < 0.001) and 0.315 (CI 0.209–0.422, p < 0.001; WMD 2.075 mmHg, p < 0.001), respectively). The RBPM group had a higher BP control rate based on a relative ratio (RR) of 1.226 (1.107–1.358, p < 0.001). RBPM effects increased with increases in city size and frequent monitoring, with decreases in intervention duration, and in cities without medically underserved areas. RBPM is effective in reducing BP and in achieving target BP levels for urban-dwelling patients with hypertension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Review
“Help in a Heartbeat?”: A Systematic Evaluation of Mobile Health Applications (Apps) for Coronary Heart Disease
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10323; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph181910323 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 554
Abstract
For patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) lifestyle changes and disease management are key aspects of treatment that could be facilitated by mobile health applications (MHA). However, the quality and functions of MHA for CHD are largely unknown, since reviews are missing. Therefore, [...] Read more.
For patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) lifestyle changes and disease management are key aspects of treatment that could be facilitated by mobile health applications (MHA). However, the quality and functions of MHA for CHD are largely unknown, since reviews are missing. Therefore, this study assessed the general characteristics, quality, and functions of MHA for CHD. Hereby, the Google Play and Apple App stores were systematically searched using a web crawler. The general characteristics and quality of MHA were rated with the Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS) by two independent raters. From 3078 identified MHA, 38 met the pre-defined criteria and were included in the assessment. Most MHA were affiliated with commercial companies (52.63%) and lacked an evidence-base. An overall average quality of MHA (M = 3.38, SD = 0.36) was found with deficiencies in information quality and engagement. The most common functions were provision of information and CHD risk score calculators. Further functions included reminders (e.g., for medication or exercises), feedback, and health management support. Most MHA (81.58%) had one or two functions and MHA with more features had mostly higher MARS ratings. In summary, this review demonstrated that a number of potentially helpful MHA for patients with CHD are commercially available. However, there is a lack of scientific evidence documenting their usability and clinical potential. Since it is difficult for patients and healthcare providers to find suitable and high-quality MHA, databases with professionally reviewed MHA are required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Review
Nurse-Coordinated Blood Pressure Telemonitoring for Urban Hypertensive Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
by , , and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 6892; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18136892 - 27 Jun 2021
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Abstract
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has put hypertensive patients in densely populated cities at increased risk. Nurse-coordinated home blood pressure telemonitoring (NC-HBPT) may help address this. We screened studies published in English on three databases, from their inception to 30 November 2020. The effects [...] Read more.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has put hypertensive patients in densely populated cities at increased risk. Nurse-coordinated home blood pressure telemonitoring (NC-HBPT) may help address this. We screened studies published in English on three databases, from their inception to 30 November 2020. The effects of NC-HBPT were compared with in-person treatment. Outcomes included changes in blood pressure (BP) following the intervention and rate of BP target achievements before and during COVID-19. Of the 1916 articles identified, 27 comparisons were included in this review. In the intervention group, reductions of 5.731 mmHg (95% confidence interval: 4.120–7.341; p < 0.001) in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and 2.342 mmHg (1.482–3.202; p < 0.001) in diastolic blood pressure (DBP) were identified. The rate of target BP achievement was significant in the intervention group (risk ratio, RR = 1.261, 1.154–1.378; p < 0.001). The effects of intervention over time showed an SBP reduction of 3.000 mmHg (−5.999–11.999) before 2000 and 8.755 mmHg (5.177–12.334) in 2020. DBP reduced by 2.000 mmHg (−2.724–6.724) before 2000 and by 3.529 mmHg (1.221–5.838) in 2020. Analysis of the target BP ratio before 2010 (RR = 1.101, 1.013–1.198) and in 2020 (RR = 1.906, 1.462–2.487) suggested improved BP control during the pandemic. NC-HBPT more significantly improves office blood pressure than UC among urban hypertensive patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Review
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patients’ Acceptance in E-Health Clinical Trials
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5230; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18105230 - 14 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1171
Abstract
Introduction: Telehealth (TH) interventions with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) management were introduced in the literature more than 20 years ago with different labeling, but there was no summary for the overall acceptance and dropout rates as well as associated variables. Objective: This [...] Read more.
Introduction: Telehealth (TH) interventions with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) management were introduced in the literature more than 20 years ago with different labeling, but there was no summary for the overall acceptance and dropout rates as well as associated variables. Objective: This review aims to summarize the acceptance and dropout rates used in TH interventions and identify to what extent clinical settings, sociodemographic factors, and intervention factors might impact the overall acceptance and completion rates of TH interventions. Methods: We conducted a systematic search up to April 2021 on CINAHL, PubMed, MEDLINE (Ovid), Cochrane, Web of Sciences, and Embase to retrieve randomized and non-randomized control trials that provide TH interventions alone or accompanied with other interventions to individuals with COPD. Results: Twenty-seven studies met the inclusion criteria. Overall, the unweighted average of acceptance and dropout rates for all included studies were 80% and 19%, respectively. A meta-analysis on the pooled difference between the acceptance rates and dropout rates (weighted by the sample size) revealed a significant difference in acceptance and dropout rates among all TH interventions 51% (95% CI 49% to 52; p < 0.001) and 63% (95% CI 60% to 67; p < 0.001), respectively. Analysis revealed that acceptance and dropout rates can be impacted by trial-related, sociodemographic, and intervention-related variables. The most common reasons for dropouts were technical difficulties (33%), followed by complicated system (31%). Conclusions: Current TH COPD interventions have a pooled acceptance rate of 51%, but this is accompanied by a high dropout rate of 63%. Acceptance and dropout levels in TH clinical trials can be affected by sociodemographic and intervention-related factors. This knowledge enlightens designs for well-accepted future TH clinical trials. PROSPERO registration number CRD4201707854. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Systematic Review
Virtual Reality in the Treatment of Adults with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(22), 11806; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182211806 - 11 Nov 2021
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Abstract
Virtual reality (VR) can present advantages in the treatment of chronic low back pain. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to analyze the effectiveness of VR in chronic low back pain. This review was designed according to PRISMA and registered [...] Read more.
Virtual reality (VR) can present advantages in the treatment of chronic low back pain. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to analyze the effectiveness of VR in chronic low back pain. This review was designed according to PRISMA and registered in PROSPERO (CRD42020222129). Four databases (PubMed, Cinahl, Scopus, Web of Science) were searched up to August 2021. Inclusion criteria were defined following PICOS recommendations. Methodological quality was assessed with the Downs and Black scale and the risk of bias with the Cochrane Risk of Bias Assessment Tool. Fourteen studies were included in the systematic review and eleven in the meta-analysis. Significant differences were found in favor of VR compared to no VR in pain intensity postintervention (11 trials; n = 569; SMD = −1.92; 95% CI = −2.73, −1.11; p < 0.00001) and followup (4 trials; n = 240; SDM = −6.34; 95% CI = −9.12, −3.56; p < 0.00001); and kinesiophobia postintervention (3 trials; n = 192; MD = −8.96; 95% CI = −17.52, −0.40; p = 0.04) and followup (2 trials; n = 149; MD = −12.04; 95% CI = −20.58, −3.49; p = 0.006). No significant differences were found in disability. In conclusion, VR can significantly reduce pain intensity and kinesiophobia in patients with chronic low back pain after the intervention and at followup. However, high heterogeneity exists and can influence the consistency of the results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Systematic Review
Adherence to Telemonitoring by Electronic Patient-Reported Outcome Measures in Patients with Chronic Diseases: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10161; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph181910161 - 27 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 513
Abstract
Background: Effective telemonitoring is possible through repetitive collection of electronic patient-reported outcome measures (ePROMs) in patients with chronic diseases. Low adherence to telemonitoring may have a negative impact on the effectiveness, but it is unknown which factors are associated with adherence to telemonitoring [...] Read more.
Background: Effective telemonitoring is possible through repetitive collection of electronic patient-reported outcome measures (ePROMs) in patients with chronic diseases. Low adherence to telemonitoring may have a negative impact on the effectiveness, but it is unknown which factors are associated with adherence to telemonitoring by ePROMs. The objective was to identify factors associated with adherence to telemonitoring by ePROMs in patients with chronic diseases. Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Library up to 8 June 2021. Eligibility criteria were: (1) interventional and cohort studies, (2) patients with a chronic disease, (3) repetitive ePROMs being used for telemonitoring, and (4) the study quantitatively investigating factors associated with adherence to telemonitoring by ePROMs. The Cochrane risk of bias tool and the risk of bias in nonrandomized studies of interventions were used to assess the risk of bias. An evidence synthesis was performed assigning to the results a strong, moderate, weak, inconclusive or an inconsistent level of evidence. Results: Five studies were included, one randomized controlled trial, two prospective uncontrolled studies and two retrospective cohort studies. A total of 15 factors potentially associated with adherence to telemonitoring by ePROMs were identified in the predominate studies of low quality. We found moderate-level evidence that sex is not associated with adherence. Some studies showed associations of the remaining factors with adherence, but the overall results were inconsistent or inconclusive. Conclusions: None of the 15 studied factors had conclusive evidence to be associated with adherence. Sex was, with moderate strength, not associated with adherence. The results were conflicting or indecisive, mainly due to the low number and low quality of studies. To optimize adherence to telemonitoring with ePROMs, mixed-method studies are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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Systematic Review
eHealth Interventions to Treat Substance Use in Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 9952; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18199952 - 22 Sep 2021
Viewed by 771
Abstract
Substance use during pregnancy is associated with adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes; eHealth interventions offer a potential accessible treatment option. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to evaluate the effectiveness of eHealth interventions for the treatment of substance use during [...] Read more.
Substance use during pregnancy is associated with adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes; eHealth interventions offer a potential accessible treatment option. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to evaluate the effectiveness of eHealth interventions for the treatment of substance use during pregnancy. A comprehensive search of PsycINFO, Medline, CINAHL, Cochrane and Embase databases was conducted from May 2020 to April 2021. The protocol for this study was registered with Prospero (CRD42020205186) through the University of York Centre for Reviews and Dissemination. Two independent reviewers completed screening, data extraction, and quality assessment. RCTs were included if they reported: (a) administration of an eHealth intervention for (b) substance use outcomes, among (c) pregnant individuals. Comprehensive Meta-Analysis Software (CMA) was used to calculate pooled effect sizes (Odds Ratio) to determine the effect of eHealth interventions on substance use outcomes. Six studies were identified with substance use outcomes that included: smoking (n = 3), alcohol (n = 2), and other (n = 1). eHealth interventions were delivered through the internet (n = 1), computer (n = 3), telephone (n = 1), and text (n = 1). Results suggested that eHealth interventions significantly reduced substance use in pregnant individuals compared to controls (OR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.06 to 1.65, p = 0.013). eHealth interventions offer a promising and accessible treatment option to reduce substance use during pregnancy. This work was supported by the generous donors of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program (CCHCSP), the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the Fonds de Recherche du Québec—Santé. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth in Chronic Diseases)
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