Digital interventions to support adolescents and young adults with cancer : systematic review

McCann, Lisa and McMillan, Kathryn Anne and Pugh, Gemma (2019) Digital interventions to support adolescents and young adults with cancer : systematic review. JMIR Cancer, 5 (2). e12071. ISSN 2369-1999

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    Abstract

    Background: The last decade has seen an increase in the number of digital health interventions designed to support adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer. Objective: The objective of this review was to identify, characterize and fully assess the quality, feasibility and efficacy of existing digital health interventions developed specifically for AYAs aged between 13 and 39 years living with or beyond a cancer diagnosis. Methods: Searches were performed in PubMed, Embase and PsychMed to identify digital health interventions designed specifically for AYA living with or beyond a cancer diagnosis. Data on the characteristics and outcomes of each intervention were synthesized. Results: 4731 intervention studies were identified via the searches; 38 interventions (43 study articles) met the inclusion criteria. Most (n=20) were website-based interventions. The majority of studies focused on symptom management and medication adherence (n=15), behaviour change (n=15), self-care (n=8) and (n=7) emotional health. The majority of digital health interventions included multiple automated and communicative functions such as enriched information environment, automated follow-up messages and access to peer support. Where reported (n=20 studies) AYAs' subjective experience of using the digital platform was typically positive. The overall quality of the studies was found to be good (mean QualSyst scores >68%). Some studies reported feasibility outcomes (uptake, acceptability, attrition) but were not sufficiently powered to comment on intervention effects. Conclusions: Numerous digital interventions have been developed and designed to support young people living with and beyond a diagnosis of cancer. However, many of these interventions have yet to be deployed, implemented and evaluated at scale.