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The Effectiveness of Digital Health Interventions in the Management of Musculoskeletal Conditions: Systematic Literature Review

Hewitt, Stephanie and Sephton, Ruth and Yeowell, Gillian (2020) The Effectiveness of Digital Health Interventions in the Management of Musculoskeletal Conditions: Systematic Literature Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22 (6). e15617-e15617.

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Abstract

Background: Musculoskeletal conditions are the second greatest contributor to disability worldwide and have significant individual, societal, and economic implications. Due to the growing burden of musculoskeletal disability, an integrated and strategic response is urgently required. Digital health interventions provide high-reach, low-cost, readily accessible, and scalable interventions for large patient populations that address time and resource constraints Objective; This review aimed to investigate if digital health interventions are effective in reducing pain and functional disability in patients with musculoskeletal conditions. Methods: A systematic review was undertaken to address the research objective. The review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. The review protocol was registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews before commencement of the study. The following databases were searched: Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online (MEDLINE), Excerpta Medica database (EMBASE), Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and Scopus from January 1, 2000, to November 15, 2019, using search terms and database specific−medical subject headings terms in various combinations appropriate to the research objective Results: A total of 19 English language studies were eligible for inclusion. Of the 19 studies that assessed musculoskeletal pain, 9 reported statistically significant reductions following digital intervention. In all, 16 studies investigated functional disability; 10 studies showed a statistically significant improvement. Significant improvements were also found in a range of additional outcomes. Due to the heterogeneity of the results, a meta-analysis was not feasible Conclusions: This review has demonstrated that digital health interventions have some clinical benefits in the management of musculoskeletal conditions for pain and functional disability. Digital health interventions have the potential to contribute positively toward reducing the multifaceted burden of musculoskeletal conditions to the individual, economy, and society. Trial Registration: OSPERO CRD42018093343; https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?RecordID=93343

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