Home > Consumer health information technology in the prevention of substance abuse: scoping review.

Pradhan, Apoorva Milind and Park, Leah and Shaya, Fadia T and Finkelstein, Joseph (2019) Consumer health information technology in the prevention of substance abuse: scoping review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21, (1), e11297.

External website: https://www.jmir.org/2019/1/e11297/

BACKGROUND: Addiction is one of the most rapidly growing epidemics that currently plagues nations around the world. In the United States, it has cost the government more than US $700 billion a year in terms of health care and other associated costs and is also associated with serious social, physical, and mental consequences. Increasing efforts have been made to tackle this issue at different levels, from primary prevention to rehabilitation across the globe. With the use of digital technology rapidly increasing, an effort to leverage the consumer health information technologies (CHITs) to combat the rising substance abuse epidemic has been underway. CHITs are identified as patient-focused technological platforms aimed to improve patient engagement in health care and aid them in navigating the complex health care system.

OBJECTIVE: This review aimed to provide a holistic and overarching view of the breadth of research on primary prevention of substance abuse using CHIT conducted over nearly past five decades. It also aimed to map out the changing landscape of CHIT over this period.

METHODS: We conducted a scoping review using the Arksey and O'Malley's modified methodological framework. We searched 4 electronic databases (PubMed, Cochrane, Scopus, and EMBASE). Papers were included if the studies addressed the use of CHIT for primary prevention of substance abuse and were published in English between 1809 and 2018. Studies that did not focus solely on primary prevention or assessed additional comorbid conditions were eliminated.

RESULTS: Forty-two papers that met our inclusion criteria were included in the review. These studies were published between 1970 and 2018 and were not restricted by geography, age, race, or sex. The review mapped studies using the most commonly used CHIT platforms for substance abuse prevention from mass media in the 1970s to mobile and social media in 2018. Moreover, 191 studies that were exclusively focused on alcohol prevention were excluded and will be addressed in a separate paper. The studies included had diverse research designs although the majority were randomized controlled trials (RCT) or review papers. Many of the RCTs used interventions based on different behavioral theories such as family interactions, social cognitive theories, and harm-minimization framework.

CONCLUSIONS: This review found CHIT platforms to be efficacious and cost-effective in the real-world settings. We also observed a gradual shift in the types and use of CHIT platforms over the past few decades and mapped out their progression. In addition, the review detected a shift in consumer preferences and behaviors from face-to-face interactions to technology-based platforms. However, the studies included in this review only focused on the aspect of primary prevention. Future reviews could assess the effectiveness of platforms for secondary prevention and for prevention of substance abuse among comorbid populations.

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