News from Journal of Medical Internet Research

The Efficacy of Health Information Technology in Supporting Health Equity for Black and Hispanic Patients With Chronic Diseases: Systematic Review

Background: Racial inequity persists for chronic disease outcomes amid the proliferation of health information technology (HIT) designed to support patients in following recommended chronic disease self-management behaviors (ie, medication behavior, physical activity, and dietary behavior and attending follow-up appointments). Numerous interventions that use consumer-oriented HIT to support self-management have been evaluated, and some of the related literature has focused on racial minorities who experience disparate chronic disease outcomes. However, little is known about the efficacy of these interventions.
Objective: This study aims to conduct a systematic review of the literature that describes the efficacy of consumer-oriented HIT interventions designed to support self-management involving African American and Hispanic patients with chronic diseases.
Methods: We followed an a priori protocol using the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses)-Equity 2012 Extension guidelines for systematic reviews that focus on health equity. Themes of interest included the inclusion and exclusion criteria. We identified 7 electronic databases, created search strings, and conducted the searches. We initially screened results based on titles and abstracts and then performed full-text screening. We then resolved conflicts and extracted relevant data from the included articles.
Results: In total, there were 27 included articles. The mean sample size was 640 (SD 209.5), and 52% (14/27) of the articles focused on African American participants, 15% (4/27) of the articles focused on Hispanic participants, and 33% (9/27) included both. Most articles addressed 3 of the 4 self-management behaviors: medication (17/27, 63%), physical activity (17/27, 63%), and diet (16/27, 59%). Only 15% (4/27) of the studies focused on follow-up appointment attendance. All the articles investigated HIT for use at home, whereas 7% (2/27) included use in the hospital.
Conclusions: This study addresses a key gap in research that has not sufficiently examined what technology designs and capabilities may be effective for underserved populations in promoting health behavior in concordance with recommendations.