21 March 2019

In a scoping review in the highest-ranking eHealth journal, the Journal of Medical Internet Research, Pim Assendelft and colleagues from the University of Applied sciences Arnhem Nijmegen showed that still relatively little is known about the adverse effects of health apps when used to replace or complement contacts with doctors or nurses.

They identified 79 papers that were potentially relevant; 11 studies met their inclusion criteria after screening. However, these studies differed in many ways and the majority were characterized by small research populations and low study quality. They concluded that there is a lack of high-quality empirical studies. The available research often focuses on efficacy, added value, implementation issues, use, and satisfaction, whereas adverse effects are underexplored. According to the authors, better understanding of possible adverse effects could be a starting point in improving the positive impact of eHealth-based health care delivery.

eHealth Apps Replacing or Complementing Health Care Contacts: Scoping Review on Adverse Effects.
Stevens WJM, van der Sande R, Beijer LJ, Gerritsen MG, Assendelft WJ.

Pim Assendelft is member of theme Healtcare improvement science.

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