Telerehabilitation in the Middle East North Africa Region: A Structured Review

Int J Telerehabil. 2021 Dec 16;13(2):e6401. doi: 10.5195/ijt.2021.6401. eCollection 2021.


A structured review using the PRISMA guidelines, MeSH keywords and eight health databases was conducted (1990 to March 2021). Telerehabilitation research evidence from the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) was summarized. Twelve studies from Iran, Israel, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia met inclusion criteria; nearly all had been published within the past five years. Methodological quality was moderate to good in the four randomized controlled trials, five cohort-studies and three cross-section surveys. There were seven intervention studies in cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, neurology or burn rehabilitation and three patient perception and two practitioner perception studies. Narrative synthesis revealed content themes relating to rehabilitation availability and accessibility; patient/practitioner perceptions of telerehabilitation; telerehabilitation to augment traditional services; and barriers to telerehabilitation. Telerehabilitation practice in MENA has been demonstrated as feasible, acceptable to patients, and effective in practitioner-designed cohort specific programs. Practitioners are generally positive but lack experience and need training, enabling technological systems, and policy frameworks.

Keywords: Middle East; Northern Africa; Rehabilitation; Telerehabilitation.