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The Report of Access and Engagement With Digital Health Interventions Among Children and Young People: Systematic Review.

Version 2 2024-06-02, 14:16
Version 1 2024-01-30, 03:17
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-02, 14:16 authored by Lisa Whitehead, Suzanne RobinsonSuzanne Robinson, Diana Arabiat, Mark Jenkins, Evalotte Morelius
Background Digital health interventions are increasingly used to deliver health-related interventions for children and young people to change health behaviors and improve health outcomes. Digital health interventions have the potential to enhance access to and engagement with children and young people; however, they may also increase the divide between those who can access technology and are supported to engage and those who are not. This review included studies that reported on the access to or engagement with digital health interventions among children and young people. Objective This review aims to identify and report on access and engagement in studies involving digital health interventions among children and young people. Methods A systematic review following the Joanna Briggs Institute methods for conducting systematic reviews was conducted. An electronic literature search was conducted for all studies published between January 1, 2010, and August 2022, across sources, including MEDLINE, CINAHL, and PsycINFO. Studies were included if they examined any aspect of access or engagement in relation to interventions among children and young people. The quality of the included papers was assessed, and data were extracted. Data were considered for meta-analysis, where possible. Results A total of 3292 references were identified using search terms. Following the exclusion of duplicates and review by inclusion criteria, 40 studies were independently appraised for their methodological quality. A total of 16 studies were excluded owing to their low assessed quality and flawed critical elements in the study design. The studies focused on a variety of health conditions; type 1 diabetes, weight management and obesity, mental health issues, and sexual health were the predominant conditions. Most studies were conducted in developed countries, with most of them being conducted in the United States. Two studies reported data related to access and considered ethnicity and social determinants. No studies used strategies to enhance or increase access. All studies included in the review reported on at least 1 aspect of engagement. Engagement with interventions was measured in relation to frequency of engagement, with no reference to the concept of effective engagement. Conclusions Most digital health interventions do not consider the factors that can affect access and engagement. Of those studies that measured either access or engagement or both, few sought to implement strategies to improve access or engagement to address potential disparities between groups. Although the literature to date provides some insight into access and engagement and how these are addressed in digital health interventions, there are major limitations in understanding how both can be enhanced to promote equity. Consideration of both access and engagement is vital to ensure that children and young people have the ability to participate in studies. Trial Registration PROSPERO CRD42020170874;



JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting



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Toronto, Canada







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C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal


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