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Background: The digital age, with digital sensors, the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data tools, has opened new opportunities for improving the delivery of health care services, with remote monitoring systems playing a crucial role and improving access to patients. The versatility of these systems has been demonstrated during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Health remote monitoring systems (HRMS) present various advantages such as the reduction in patient load at hospitals and health centers. Patients that would most benefit from HRMS are those with chronic diseases, older adults, and patients that experience less severe symptoms recovering from SARS-CoV-2 viral infection. Objective: This paper aimed to perform a systematic review of the literature of HRMS in primary health care (PHC) settings, identifying the current status of the digitalization of health processes, remote data acquisition, and interactions between health care personnel and patients. Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted using PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis) guidelines to identify articles that explored interventions with HRMS in patients with chronic diseases in the PHC setting. Results: The literature review yielded 123 publications, 18 of which met the predefined inclusion criteria. The selected articles highlighted that sensors and wearables are already being used in multiple scenarios related to chronic disease management at the PHC level. The studies focused mostly on patients with diabetes (9/26, 35%) and cardiovascular diseases (7/26, 27%). During the evaluation of the implementation of these interventions, the major difficulty that stood out was the integration of information into already existing systems in the PHC infrastructure and in changing working processes of PHC professionals (83%). Conclusions: The PHC context integrates multidisciplinary teams and patients with often complex, chronic pathologies. Despite the theoretical framework, objective identification of problems, and involvement of stakeholders in the design and implementation processes, these interventions mostly fail to scale up. Despite the inherent limitations of conducting a systematic literature review, the small number of studies in the PHC context is a relevant limitation. This study aimed to demonstrate the importance of matching technological development to the working PHC processes in interventions regarding the use of sensors and wearables for remote monitoring as a source of information for chronic disease management, so that information with clinical value is not lost along the way.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere28285
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Chronic diseases
  • Digital health
  • Primary health care
  • Remote monitoring
  • Sensors
  • Wearables


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