Publication Details

McDermott, M. S. & While, A. E. (2013). Maximizing the healthcare environment: a systematic review exploring the potential of computer technology to promote self-management of chronic illness in healthcare settings. Patient Education and Counseling, 92 (1), 13-22.


Objective The aim of this systematic review is to investigate the effectiveness of using computers to deliver patient self-management programs (PSMPs) to patients with chronic illness in health supported settings. Methods We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs), where the experimental intervention was compared either with an equivalent 'standard' PSMP delivered by staff, usual care or no intervention and reported data either on clinical or behavioral outcomes. We conducted a narrative synthesis, incorporating a small quantitative analysis to enable comparisons across studies. Results A total of 11 studies met the inclusion criteria. There was insufficient evidence to determine whether computer-based PSMPs were superior to standard programs. However, it appeared that these interventions were effective when compared to no intervention. Interventions incorporating behavior change techniques beyond the provision of information appeared more effective than those that did not. Conclusion Evidence from the current review, whilst limited, suggests that computer-based PSMPs, delivered in health-supported settings, show potential for changing health behaviors and improving clinical outcomes in patients with chronic illness. Practice Implications: Although the approach shows promise, it is premature to recommend the integration of these interventions into clinical practice. However, more well designed trials are warranted to test their efficacy and cost-benefit.



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