The Use and Effects of Electronic Health Tools for Patient Self-Monitoring and Reporting of Outcomes Following Medication Use: Systematic Review
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BACKGROUND: Electronic health (eHealth) tools are becoming increasingly popular for helping patients' self-manage chronic conditions. Little research, however, has examined the effect of patients using eHealth tools to self-report their medication management and use. Similarly, there is little evidence showing how eHealth tools might prompt patients and health care providers to make appropriate changes to medication use. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this systematic review was to determine the impact of patients' use of eHealth tools on self-reporting adverse effects and symptoms that promote changes to medication use. Related secondary outcomes were also evaluated. METHODS: MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CINAHL were searched from January 1, 2000, to April 25, 2018. Reference lists of relevant systematic reviews and included articles from the literature search were also screened to identify relevant studies. Title, abstract, and full-text review as well as data extraction and risk of bias assessment were performed independently by 2 reviewers. Due to high heterogeneity, results were not meta-analyzed and instead presented as a narrative synthesis. RESULTS: A total of 14 studies, including 13 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 1 open-label intervention, were included, from which 11 unique eHealth tools were identified. In addition, 14 RCTs found statistically significant increases in positive medication changes as a result of using eHealth tools, as did the single open-label study. Moreover, 8 RCTs found improvement in patient symptoms following eHealth tool use, especially in adolescent asthma patients. Furthermore, 3 RCTs showed that eHealth tools might improve patient self-efficacy and self-management of chronic disease. Little or no evidence was found to support the effectiveness of eHealth tools at improving medication recommendations and reconciliation by clinicians, medication-use behavior, health service utilization, adverse effects, quality of life, or patient satisfaction. eHealth tools with multifaceted functionalities and those allowing direct patient-provider communication may be more effective at improving patient self-management and self-efficacy. CONCLUSIONS: Evidence suggests that the use of eHealth tools may improve patient symptoms and lead to medication changes. Patients generally found eHealth tools useful in improving communication with health care providers. Moreover, health-related outcomes among frequent eHealth tool users improved in comparison with individuals who did not use eHealth tools frequently. Implementation issues such as poor patient engagement and poor clinician workflow integration were identified. More high-quality research is needed to explore how eHealth tools can be used to effectively manage use of medications to improve medication management and patient outcomes.
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