A systematic review was conducted to explore published quantitative and qualitative research describing patient-reported outcomes of palliative telehealth intervention studies. Multiple databases were searched for articles published between January 2006 and May 2016, which met study criteria. Methodological quality was assessed using Cochrane Collaboration’s tool for assessing risk of bias for quantitative articles. For studies reporting qualitative outcomes, a checklist was used to evaluate trustworthiness of the methodology. Of the 6 studies reporting quantitative outcomes, 3 studies were rated as having moderate study quality, and 3 studies were rated as having low study quality. Of the 6 studies reporting qualitative outcomes, 3 reported 5 different methods for ensuring trustworthiness, whereas 1 article reported 4 methods, 1 reported 3, and 1 article reported 2 methods. Studies were notably diverse in terms of patient population, technology used, outcomes measures, and methodology. Results across studies were also variable. Methodological factors were major limitations. Recruitment problems, participant attrition, and lack of standardized outcomes measures impacted outcome assessment. Overall, research support for positive patient outcomes in palliative telehealth interventions was weak. However, all studies but one found positive results to support the intervention.
Barbara A. Head, PhD, CHPN, ACSW, FPCN, is associate professor, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Kentucky.
Tara J. Schapmire, PhD, MSSW, CSW, OSW-C, FNAP, is assistant professor, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Kentucky.
Yongqiang Zheng, PhD, MSSW, is assistant professor, George Fox University School of Social Work, Portland, Oregon.
Address correspondence to Barbara A. Head, PhD, CHPN, ACSW, FPCN, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Med Center One, 501 E Broadway, Suite 330B, Louisville, KY 40202 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.