Fifty-six articles (42 interventions) were included in the review. Sample sizes ranged from six to 461 and were not specified in 10 articles (eight interventions).
Device-based technologies (16 articles, 14 interventions, at least 1,022 participants): Four randomised controlled trials (RCTs), five non-randomised controlled trials and seven pre/post studies were included. Intervention effects included increased hospitalisations in eight studies and improved quality of life in five studies. Six studies reported no significant differences between study groups that used these measures.
Telephone touch-pads (12 articles, seven interventions, at least 1,928 participants): Three RCTs, one pre/post study and three studies of unknown design were included. One study reported fewer rehospitalisations and combined events. One study reported that it took a shorter period of time to achieve the target dose of carvedilol.
Video-consultation-based studies (three articles, two studies, 54 participants): One RCT reported no significant differences between study groups. One pre/post study reported both positive and negative effects in mood ratings for the intervention group depending on the severity of heart failure.
Website-based telemonitoring (five articles, four interventions, 116 participants): One RCT, two pre/post studies and one non-randomised trial were included. The RCT reported a reduction in hospital days for the intervention; one pre/post study reported a corresponding increase. The other pre/post study reported beneficial differences in quality of life post intervention. The study of unknown design failed to report any results.
Combination modalities (21 articles, 15 interventions, at least 1,053 participants): Eight RCTs, three non-randomised controlled studies, four pre/post studies and one feasibility study were included. Seven studies reported that interventions were associated with decreased hospital admissions. Six studies reported that healthcare costs (hospitalisation, emergency care) were reduced in the intervention group.