Domains and methods used to assess home telemonitoring scalability: Systematic review

Salome Azevedo, Teresa Cipriano Rodrigues, Ana Rita Londral

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Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed the adoption of home telemonitoring to cope with social distancing challenges. Recent research on home telemonitoring demonstrated benefits concerning the capacity, patient empowerment, and treatment commitment of health care systems. Moreover, for some diseases, it revealed significant improvement in clinical outcomes. Nevertheless, when policy makers and practitioners decide whether to scale-up a technology-based health intervention from a research study to mainstream care delivery, it is essential to assess other relevant domains, such as its feasibility to be expanded under real-world conditions. Therefore, scalability assessment is critical, and it encompasses multiple domains to ensure population-wide access to the benefits of the growing technological potential for home telemonitoring services in health care. Objective: This systematic review aims to identify the domains and methods used in peer-reviewed research studies that assess the scalability of home telemonitoring-based interventions under real-world conditions. Methods: The authors followed the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis) guidelines and used multiple databases (PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and EconLit). An integrative synthesis of the eligible studies was conducted to better explore each intervention and summarize relevant information concerning the target audience, intervention duration and setting, and type of technology. Each study design was classified based on the strength of its evidence. Lastly, the authors conducted narrative and thematic analyses to identify the domains, and qualitative and quantitative methods used to support scalability assessment. Results: This review evaluated 13 articles focusing on the potential of scaling up a home telemonitoring intervention. Most of the studies considered the following domains relevant for scalability assessment: problem (13), intervention (12), effectiveness (13), and costs and benefits (10). Although cost-effectiveness was the most common evaluation method, the authors identified seven additional cost analysis methods to evaluate the costs. Other domains were less considered, such as the sociopolitical context (2), workforce (4), and technological infrastructure (3). Researchers used different methodological approaches to assess the effectiveness, costs and benefits, fidelity, and acceptability. Conclusions: This systematic review suggests that when assessing scalability, researchers select the domains specifically related to the intervention while ignoring others related to the contextual, technological, and environmental factors, which are also relevant. Additionally, studies report using different methods to evaluate the same domain, which makes comparison difficult. Future work should address research on the minimum required domains to assess the scalability of remote telemonitoring services and suggest methods that allow comparison among studies to provide better support to decision makers during large-scale implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere29381
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Volume9
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Home telecare
  • Scalability
  • Systematic review
  • Telemonitoring

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