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Assessing the impact of online health education interventions from 2010 to 2020: a systematic review of the evidence [with consumer summary]
Claflin SB, Klekociuk S, Fair H, Bostock E, Farrow M, Doherty K, Taylor BV
American Journal of Health Promotion 2022 Jan;36(1):201-224
systematic review

OBJECTIVE: Systematically review the evaluation and impact of online health education interventions: assess approaches used, summarize main findings, and identify knowledge gaps. DATA SOURCE: We searched the following databases: Embase, ERIC, Medline, and Web of Science. STUDY INCLUSION AND EXCLUSION CRITERIA: Studies were included if (1) published in English between 2010 to 2020 in a peer-reviewed journal (2) reported an online health education intervention aimed at consumers, caregivers, and the public (3) evaluated implementation OR participant outcomes (4) included >= 100 participants per study arm. DATA EXTRACTION: Two authors extracted data using a standardized form. DATA SYNTHESIS: Data synthesis was structured around the primary outcomes of the included studies. RESULTS: 26 studies met the inclusion criteria. We found substantial heterogeneity in study population, design, intervention, and primary outcomes, and significant methodological issues that resulted in moderate to high risk of bias. Overall, interventions that were available to all (eg, on YouTube) consistently attained a large global reach, and knowledge was consistently improved. However, the impact on other outcomes of interest (eg, health literacy, health behaviors) remains unclear. CONCLUSION: Evidence around the impacts of the type of online health education interventions assessed in this review is sparse. A greater understanding of who online interventions work for and what outcomes can be achieved is crucial to determine, and potentially expand, their place in health education.

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