Effectiveness of eHealth and mHealth interventions supporting children and young people living with juvenile idiopathic arthritis: Systematic review and meta-analysis
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Butler, S., Sculley, D., Santos, D., Fellas, A., Gironès, X., Singh-Grewal, D., and Coda, A. (2022) ‘Effectiveness of eHealth and mHealth interventions supporting children and young people living with juvenile idiopathic arthritis: Systematic review and meta-analysis’, Journal of Medical Internet Research, 24(2), article no. e30457.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) management aims to promote remission through timely, individualized, well-coordinated interdisciplinary care using a range of pharmacological, physical, psychological, and educational interventions. However, achieving this goal is workforce-intensive. Harnessing the burgeoning eHealth and mobile health (mHealth) interventions could be a resource-efficient way of supplementing JIA management. This systematic review aims to identify the eHealth and mHealth interventions that have been proven to be effective in supporting health outcomes for children and young people (aged 1-18 years) living with JIA. We systematically searched 15 databases (2018-2021). Studies were eligible if they considered children and young people (aged 1-18 years) diagnosed with JIA, an eHealth or mHealth intervention, any comparator, and health outcomes related to the used interventions. Independently, 2 reviewers screened the studies for inclusion and appraised the study quality using the Downs and Black (modified) checklist. Study outcomes were summarized using a narrative, descriptive method and, where possible, combined for a meta-analysis using a random-effects model. Of the 301 studies identified in the search strategy, 15 (5%) fair-to-good-quality studies met the inclusion criteria, which identified 10 interventions for JIA (age 4-18.6 years). Of these 10 interventions, 5 (50%) supported symptom monitoring by capturing real-time data using health applications, electronic diaries, or web-based portals to monitor pain or health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Within individual studies, a preference was demonstrated for real-time pain monitoring over recall pain assessments because of a peak-end effect, improved time efficiency (P=.002), and meeting children's and young people's HRQoL needs (P<.001) during pediatric rheumatology consultations. Furthermore, 20% (2/10) of interventions supported physical activity promotion using a web-based program or a wearable activity tracker. The web-based program exhibited a moderate effect, which increased endurance time, physical activity levels, and moderate to vigorous physical activity (standardized mean difference [SMD] 0.60, SD 0.02-1.18; I =79%; P=.04). The final 30% (3/10) of interventions supported self-management development through web-based programs, or apps, facilitating a small effect, reducing pain intensity (SMD -0.14, 95% CI -0.43 to 0.15; I =53%; P=.33), and increasing disease knowledge and self-efficacy (SMD 0.30, 95% CI 0.03-0.56; I =74%; P=.03). These results were not statistically significant. No effect was seen regarding pain interference, HRQoL, anxiety, depression, pain coping, disease activity, functional ability, or treatment adherence. Evidence that supports the inclusion of eHealth and mHealth interventions in JIA management is increasing. However, this evidence needs to be considered cautiously because of the small sample size, wide CIs, and moderate to high statistical heterogeneity. More rigorous research is needed on the longitudinal effects of real-time monitoring, web-based pediatric rheumatologist-children and young people interactions, the comparison among different self-management programs, and the use of wearable technologies as an objective measurement for monitoring physical activity before any recommendations that inform current practice can be given.
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