Objective: This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of technological interventions used to improve communication between healthcare professionals (HCPs) and children with long-term conditions (LTCs).
Methods: PROSPERO: CRD42020221977. Five electronic databases were searched from inception to May 2021 for randomised controlled trials. Study characteristics were described and random-effects meta-analysis was conducted.
Results: Nineteen studies were included, involving 1995 participants. Technological interventions were found to significantly improve participants' knowledge of their condition (standardised mean difference [SMD] 0.39; 95% CI 0.07-0.71; p = 0.02) and lead to a more internal health locus of control (SMD 0.50; 95% CI 0.25-0.76; p < 0.0001). There was no statistically significant improvement in physiological measures or emergency healthcare use.
Conclusion: This systematic review showed some benefits of using technology to improve communication between HCPs and children with LTCs. Future primary research should use rigorous methods for subsequent reviews to draw conclusions with greater confidence in the evidence. Establishing a core outcome set within this field of study would enable consistent measurement of outcomes.
Practice implications: Our findings indicate value in integrating communication technologies in the child health setting, aiming to establish greater continuity of care and maintain patient-clinician relationships between healthcare visits.
Keywords: Child health; Chronic disease; Educational technology; Health communication; Self-management.
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