AHRQ: Consumer health informatics has positive impact on health outcomes

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An Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) literature review suggests that consumer health informatics (CHI) engage consumers, enhance traditional clinical interventions and improve intermediate and clinical health outcomes.

The review was carried out by the Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University Evidence-based Practice Center for the AHRQ.

The reviewers tracked down 146 eligible articles for review, including 121 randomized control trials, and found that:

  • Four of five asthma care studies found a positive impact of a CHI application on one healthcare process measure.
  • A significant positive impact was demonstrated in at least one intermediate health outcome in all three breast cancer studies reviewed; in 89 percent of 32 diet, exercise and physical activity studies; in all eight alcohol abuse studies; in seven of eight mental health studies; in one of four asthma/COPD studies; and in one of the two menopause utilization studies.
  • In 13 additional single studies there was evidence of significant impact of a CHI application on one or more intermediate incomes.
  • In eight studies evaluating the effect of CHI on doctor/patient relationships, five demonstrated a positive impact of CHI.
  • Regarding the impact of CHI on clinical outcomes, a positive impact was demonstrated in one of three breast cancer studies; four of five diet, exercise or physical activity studies; all seven mental health studies; and all three diabetes studies.