Background: Increased accessibility to the internet and mobile devices has seen a rapid expansion in electronic health (eHealth) behavior change interventions delivered to patients with cancer and survivors using synchronous, asynchronous, and combined delivery methods. Characterizing effective delivery methods of eHealth interventions is required to enable improved design and implementation of evidence-based health behavior change interventions.
Objective: This study aims to systematically review the literature and synthesize evidence on the success of eHealth behavior change interventions in patients with cancer and survivors delivered by synchronous, asynchronous, or combined methods compared with a control group. Engagement with the intervention, behavior change, and health outcomes, including quality of life, fatigue, depression, and anxiety, were examined.
Methods: A search of Scopus, Ovid MEDLINE, Excerpta Medica dataBASE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature Plus, PsycINFO, Cochrane CENTRAL, and PubMed was conducted for studies published between March 2007 and March 2019. We looked for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining interventions delivered to adult cancer survivors via eHealth methods with a measure of health behavior change. Random-effects meta-analysis was performed to examine whether the method of eHealth delivery impacted the level of engagement, behavior change, and health outcomes.
Results: A total of 24 RCTs were included predominantly examining dietary and physical activity behavior change interventions. There were 11 studies that used a synchronous approach and 11 studies that used an asynchronous approach, whereas 2 studies used a combined delivery method. Use of eHealth interventions improved exercise behavior (standardized mean difference [SMD] 0.34, 95% CI 0.21-0.48), diet behavior (SMD 0.44, 95% CI 0.18-0.70), fatigue (SMD 0.21, 95% CI -0.08 to 0.50; SMD change 0.22, 95% CI 0.09-0.35), anxiety (SMD 1.21, 95% CI: 0.36-2.07; SMD change 0.15, 95% CI -0.09 to 0.40), depression (SMD 0.15, 95% CI 0.00-0.30), and quality of life (SMD 0.12, 95% CI -0.10 to 0.34; SMD change 0.14, 95% CI 0.04-0.24). The mode of delivery did not influence the amount of dietary and physical activity behavior change observed.
Conclusions: Physical activity and dietary behavior change eHealth interventions delivered to patients with cancer or survivors have a small to moderate impact on behavior change and a small to very small benefit to quality of life, fatigue, depression, and anxiety. There is insufficient evidence to determine whether asynchronous or synchronous delivery modes yield superior results. Three-arm RCTs comparing delivery modes with a control with robust engagement reporting are required to determine the most successful delivery method for promoting behavior change and ultimately favorable health outcomes.
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- mobile phones