E-health for active ageing; A systematic review
Abstract Enabling successful active ageing is an international priority to meet the challenges of increasing life expectancy. Digital strategies, such as telemedicine and e-health, offer the potential to deliver active ageing in a cost-effective manner at scale. This article aims to establish the extent to which the research literature considers e-health-based and telemedicine-based active ageing interventions. A systematic review was conducted according to PRISMA standards. Independently, two authors searched the Cochrane, EMBASE & CINAHL databases, with subsequent independent extraction and semi-quantitative analysis. We report a considerable breadth in digital active ageing research, which is truly international in its scope. There is a diverse range of both interventions and technologies, including a reassuring focus on community-based interventions. Whilst there are a number of quantitative studies, sample sizes are small, with a limited amount of statistical testing of the results. There is significant variation in the outcome measures reported and little consensus as to the most effective intervention strategies. Overall, whilst there is considerable breadth to the research published in the literature, there is a clear restriction in the depth of this research. There is little overall consensus. This lack of depth and consensus may be due to the need to recognize the important role of technical research elements alongside more traditional research methodologies, such as randomized controlled trials. Enabling both technical and clinical research methods to be recognized, in tandem, has enormous potential to support individuals, communities, clinicians and policy makers to make more informed decisions in relation to active ageing.
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