The Effectiveness of Web-Based Mobile Health Interventions in Paediatric Outpatient Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

J Adv Nurs. 2020 Apr 13. doi: 10.1111/jan.14381. Online ahead of print.


Aims: To evaluate the effectiveness of web-based mobile health interventions on paediatric patients and their parents in the day surgery context, where the primary outcome was children's pre-operative anxiety and secondary outcomes were postoperative pain and parents' anxiety and satisfaction with entire course of the day surgery.

Design: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Data sources: CENTRAL, CINAHL, Scopus, Ovid MEDLINE, and Web of Science were systematically searched without time limits (up to December 2018).

Review methods: Studies were appraised using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. A random effect meta-analysis of children's pre-operative anxiety was performed.

Results: Eight studies with a total of 722 patients were included in the analysis. The effectiveness of web-based mobile health interventions, including age-appropriate videos, web-based game apps, and educational preparation games made for the hospital environment, was examined in pre-operative settings. A meta-analysis (N = 560 children) based on six studies found a statistically significant reduction in pre-operative anxiety measured by the Modified Yale Pre-operative Anxiety Scale with a moderate effect size. Three studies reported parental satisfaction.

Conclusion: Web-based mobile health interventions can reduce children's pre-operative anxiety and increase parental satisfaction. Web-based mobile health interventions could be considered as non-pharmacological distraction tools for children in nursing. There is not enough evidence regarding the effectiveness of reducing children's postoperative pain and parental anxiety using similar interventions.

Impact: Web-based mobile health interventions reduce children´s pre-operative anxiety and could therefore be considered as non-pharmacological distraction tools for children in nursing.

Keywords: anxiety; day surgery; distraction; meta-analysis; mobile health intervention; nursing; paediatric; pain; parents; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review