OBJECTIVE: Critically appraise research evidence on effectiveness of internet self-management interventions on health outcomes in youth with health conditions.
METHODS: Published studies of internet interventions in youth with health conditions were evaluated. Electronic searches were conducted in EBM Reviews-Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL and PsychINFO. Two reviewers independently selected articles for review and assessed methodological quality. Of 29 published articles on internet interventions; only nine met the inclusion criteria and were included in analysis.
RESULTS: While outcomes varied greatly between studies, symptoms improved in internet interventions compared to control conditions in seven of nine studies. There was conflicting evidence regarding disease-specific knowledge and quality of life, and evidence was limited regarding decreases in health care utilization.
CONCLUSIONS: There are the beginnings of an evidence base that self-management interventions delivered via the internet improve selected outcomes in certain childhood illnesses.