Digital Health Interventions for Adult Patients with Cancer Evaluated in Randomized Controlled Trials: Scoping Review

Kyunghwa Lee, Sanghee Kim, Soo Hyun Kim, Sung Hee Yoo, Ji Hyun Sung, Eui Geum Oh, Nawon Kim, Jiyeon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Digital care has become an essential component of health care. Interventions for patients with cancer need to be effective and safe, and digital health interventions must adhere to the same requirements. Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify currently available digital health interventions developed and evaluated in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) targeting adult patients with cancer. Methods: A scoping review using the JBI methodology was conducted. The participants were adult patients with cancer, and the concept was digital health interventions. The context was open, and sources were limited to RCT effectiveness studies. The PubMed, CINAHL, Embase, Cochrane Library, Research Information Sharing Service, and KoreaMed databases were searched. Data were extracted and analyzed to achieve summarized results about the participants, types, functions, and outcomes of digital health interventions. Results: A total of 231 studies were reviewed. Digital health interventions were used mostly at home (187/231, 81%), and the web-based intervention was the most frequently used intervention modality (116/231, 50.2%). Interventions consisting of multiple functional components were most frequently identified (69/231, 29.9%), followed by those with the self-manage function (67/231, 29%). Web-based interventions targeting symptoms with the self-manage and multiple functions and web-based interventions to treat cognitive function and fear of cancer recurrence consistently achieved positive outcomes. More studies supported the positive effects of web-based interventions to inform decision-making and knowledge. The effectiveness of digital health interventions targeting anxiety, depression, distress, fatigue, health-related quality of life or quality of life, pain, physical activity, and sleep was subject to their type and function. A relatively small number of digital health interventions specifically targeted older adults (6/231, 2.6%) or patients with advanced or metastatic cancer (22/231, 9.5%). Conclusions: This scoping review summarized digital health interventions developed and evaluated in RCTs involving adult patients with cancer. Systematic reviews of the identified digital interventions are strongly recommended to integrate digital health interventions into clinical practice. The identified gaps in digital health interventions for cancer care need to be reflected in future digital health research.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere38333
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research project was supported by the Brain Korea 21 FOUR project funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea, Yonsei University College of Nursing (2021-22-0159).

Publisher Copyright:
©Kyunghwa Lee, Sanghee Kim, Soo Hyun Kim, Sung-Hee Yoo, Ji Hyun Sung, Eui Geum Oh, Nawon Kim, Jiyeon Lee.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics


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