Background: Web-based and mobile health interventions (also called "Internet interventions" or "ehealth/mhealth interventions") are tools or treatments, typically behaviorally based, that are operationalized and transformed for delivery via the Internet or mobile platforms. These include electronic tools for patients, informal caregivers, healthy consumers, and health care providers. The "Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials" (CONSORT) was developed to improve the suboptimal reporting of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). While broadly the CONSORT statement can be applied to provide guidance on how ehealth and mhealth trials should be reported, RCTs of web-based interventions pose very specific issues and challenges, in particular related to reporting sufficient details of the intervention to allow replication and theory-building.
Objective: To develop a checklist, dubbed CONSORT-EHEALTH (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials of Electronic and Mobile HEalth Applications and onLine TeleHealth), as an extension of the CONSORT statement that provides guidance for authors of ehealth and mhealth interventions.
Methods: A literature review was conducted, followed by a survey among ehealth experts and a workshop.
Results: An instrument and checklist was constructed as an extension of the CONSORT statement. The instrument has been adopted by the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) and authors of ehealth RCTs are required to submit an electronic checklist explaining how they addressed each subitem.
Conclusions: CONSORT-EHEALTH has the potential to improve reporting and provides a basis for evaluating the validity and applicability of ehealth trials. Subitems describing how the intervention should be reported can also be used for non-RCT evaluation reports. As part of the development process, an evaluation component is essential, therefore feedback from authors will be solicited, and a before-after study will evaluate whether reporting has been improved.