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Digital Self-Management Support Tools in the Care Plan of Patients With Cancer: Review of Randomized Controlled Trials


Digital Self-Management Support Tools in the Care Plan of Patients With Cancer: Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

J Med Internet Res. 2021 Jun 29;23(6):e20861. doi: 10.2196/20861.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Digital self-management support tools (DSMSTs)-electronic devices or monitoring systems to monitor or improve health status-have become increasingly important in cancer care.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this review is to analyze published randomized clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of DSMSTs on physical and psychosocial symptoms or other supportive care needs in adult patients with cancer.

METHODS: Five databases were searched from January 2013 to January 2020. English or Dutch language randomized controlled trials comparing DSMSTs with no intervention, usual care, alternative interventions, or a combination and including patients aged ≥18 years with pathologically proven cancer in the active treatment or survivorship phases were included. The results were summarized qualitatively.

RESULTS: A total of 19 publications describing 3 types of DSMSTs were included. Although the content, duration, and frequency of interventions varied considerably across studies, the commonly used elements included an assessment component, tailored symptom self-management support, an information section, a communication section, and a diary. Significant positive effects were observed on quality of life in 6 (out of 10) studies, on anxiety in 1 (out of 5) study and depression in 2 (out of 8) studies, on symptom distress in 5 (out of 7) studies, on physical activity in 4 (out of 6) studies, on dietary behavior in 1 (out of 4) study, and on fatigue in 2 (out of 5) studies. Moreover, significant negative effects were observed on anxiety in 1 (out of 5) study and depression in 1 (out of 8) study. Most interventions were web-based interventions; 2 studies used mobile apps, and 1 study used a game as a DSMST. The overall quality of the studies was found to be good, with 13 out of 19 studies classified as high quality.

CONCLUSIONS: This review suggests that DSMSTs have a beneficial effect on the quality of life. For effects on other patient outcomes (eg, anxiety and depression, symptom distress, physical activity, dietary behavior, and fatigue), the evidence is inconsistent and limited or no effect is suggested. Future research should focus on specific tumor types, study different types of interventions separately, and assess the effects of specific interventions at different stages of disease progression.

PMID:34184997 | DOI:10.2196/20861

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