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Effects of e-health for patients and informal caregivers confronted with cancer: a meta-review.

Slev, V.N., Pasman, H.R.W., Verdonck-de Leeuw, I.M., Uden-Kraan, C.F. van, Francke, A.L. Effects of e-health for patients and informal caregivers confronted with cancer: a meta-review. European Journal of Palliative Care: 2015, p. 61. Abstract. 14th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care: Building Bridges. 8-10 mei 2015, Copenhagen.
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In current health care, eHealth is considered as a potentially effective mean for providing information and support. eHealth can be defined as ‘information provision about illness or health care and/or support for patients and/or informal caregivers, using the computer or related technologies’. Several systematic reviews concerning effects of eHealth interventions for cancer patients are already published.

To synthesise evidence from previous systematic reviews on the effects of eHealth interventions in oncology care, and to look whether these interventions and effects also concern patients and informal caregivers in the palliative phase of cancer.

A systematic meta-review (a systematic review of reviews) was conducted on effects of eHealth interventions targeting cancer patients and/or informal caregivers. Searches were done in PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO and Cochrane Library. The reference selection and methodological quality assessment were done by two reviewers independently.

Ten systematic reviews were included. Based on a synthesis of the information from these reviews, moderate evidence was found for the efficacy of eHealth regarding support, knowledge levels and information competence of cancer patients. Evidence was inconclusive for outcomes related to wellbeing, depression, quality of life, decision making
and health care participation. None of the reviews included studies targeting eHealth for palliative care patients and/or their informal caregivers.

There is (moderate) evidence that eHealth interventions are effective in providing support and in increasing information competence of patients. There is an urgent need for research into the effects of eHealth in the palliative phase of cancer.

ZonMw, The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development.