An integrative review of chronic illness mHealth self-care interventions: Mapping technology features to patient outcomes

Paulina S. Sockolow, Harleah G. Buck, Efrat Shadmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mobile health (mHealth)—hand-held technologies to address health priorities—has significant potential to answer the growing need for patient chronic illness self-care interventions. Previous reviews examined mHealth effect on patient outcomes. None have a detailed examination and mapping of specific technology features to targeted health outcomes. Examine recent chronic illness mHealth self-care interventions; map the study descriptors, mHealth technology features, and study outcomes. (1) Information extracted from PubMed, CINAHL, and Web of Science databases for clinical outcomes studies published 2010–January 2020; and (2) realist synthesis techniques for within and across case analysis. From 652 records, 32 studies were examined. Median study duration was 19.5 weeks. Median sample size was 62 participants. About 47% of interventions used solely patient input versus digital input; 50% sent tailored messages versus generic messages; 22% augmented the intervention with human interaction. Studies with positive clinical outcomes had higher use of digital input. Software descriptions were lacking. Most studies built interventions: only two incorporated target audience participation in development. We recommend researchers provide sufficient system description detail. Future research includes: data input characteristics; impact of augmentation with human interaction on outcomes; and development decisions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Informatics Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research librarian, Janice Masud-Paul, for assistance with development of the search strategy and retrieval of articles from databases. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • cellular phone
  • clinical trial
  • home care and e-health
  • patient self-care
  • patients with chronic illness or special needs
  • smart phone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


Dive into the research topics of 'An integrative review of chronic illness mHealth self-care interventions: Mapping technology features to patient outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this