Eligible for inclusion were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of usual care compared with e-health used as an addition to, or in place of, usual care in patients with somatic chronic diseases. E-health was defined as the use of an interactive web site with store-and-forward messages to provide treatment and information/education between healthcare providers and patients (without them having to be present at the same time). Excluded were studies using only a monitoring device, telephone, webcam or video-conferencing. The outcome of interest was improved self-care management (including health, quality of life and patient satisfaction).
All included studies reported on a range of health outcomes. Other outcomes were sparsely recorded. E-health interventions included monitoring, coaching on self-management, treatment instructions and general information/web-based messaging. Usual care comprised regular hospital or home visits and visits to the general practitioner. Children and adult participants with a range of chronic conditions were included.
Two reviewers selected studies for inclusion.