Effectiveness of home-based records on maternal, newborn and child health outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis

PLoS One. 2019 Jan 2;14(1):e0209278. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0209278. eCollection 2019.


Home-based records (HBRs) may improve the health of pregnant women, new mothers and their children, and support health care systems. We assessed the effectiveness of HBRs on maternal, newborn and child health reporting, care seeking and self-care practice, mortality, morbidity and women's empowerment in low-, middle- and high-income countries. We conducted a systematic search in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, Health Systems Evidence, CINAHL, HTA database, NHS EED, and DARE from 1950 to 2017. We also searched the WHO, CDC, ECDC, JICA and UNAIDS. We included randomised controlled trials, prospective controlled trials, and cost-effectiveness studies. We used the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool to appraise studies. We extracted and analyzed data for outcomes including maternal, newborn and child health, and women's empowerment. We synthesized and presented data using GRADE Evidence Profiles. We included 14 studies out of 16,419 identified articles. HBRs improved antenatal care and reduced likelihood of pregnancy complications; improved patient-provider communication and enhanced women's feelings of control and empowerment; and improved rates of vaccination among children (OR: 2·39, 95% CI: 1.45-3·92) and mothers (OR 1·98 95% CI:1·29-3·04). A three-year follow-up shows that HBRs reduced risk of cognitive delay in children (p = 0.007). HBRs used during the life cycle of women and children in Indonesia showed benefits for continuity of care. There were no significant effects on healthy pregnancy behaviors such as smoking and consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. There were no statistically significant effects on newborn health outcomes. We did not identify any formal studies on cost or economic evaluation. HBRs show modest but important health effects for women and children. These effects with minimal-to-no harms, multiplied across a population, could play an important role in reducing health inequities in maternal, newborn, and child health.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Health*
  • Female
  • Health Records, Personal*
  • Humans
  • Indonesia
  • Infant Health*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Health*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Patient Generated Health Data
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control
  • Prenatal Care

Grants and funding

This research was supported by the World Health Organization and the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.