Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were eligible for inclusion.
Inclusion criteria for the intervention stipulated the use of an interactive computerised education programme. Studies that used computers for personalising information for patients or appointment reminders were not eligible for inclusion. In the included studies, CAPEP exposure ranged from a single use for 22 minutes to daily use for 12 weeks. No inclusion criteria for the control were listed. The control interventions in the included studies were normal care, daily recording of symptoms and peak flow measures, a computer programme with the respiratory component removed, provision of verbal or written information on asthma management or house dust mite avoidance, other asthma education plus a non-educational computer game.
Asthma patients of any age were eligible for inclusion. The participants in the included studies were aged from 3 to 75 years, with most studies only including children aged under 18 years; there was a mix of ethnicities (primarily white and African American, but also Hispanic and other ethnicities). The authors noted a basic lack of computer literacy in one of the included studies. All except one of the studies was based in the USA. The presence of asthma was defined differently in each of the included studies, and was primarily mild to moderate.
The primary outcomes were objective clinical measures such as hospitalisations, acute care visits, use of short-acting β-agonists and changes in lung function. The secondary end points were change in asthma knowledge and asthma symptoms. Studies of asthma knowledge alone, behaviour, self-efficacy and/or patient self-confidence were excluded. In the included studies, the duration of follow-up ranged from 4 to 12 months and the proportion of drop-outs ranged from 0 to 32%.
Two reviewers made decisions on relevance, but it is not clear if this was done independently or not.