Effectiveness and impact of networked communication interventions in young people with mental health conditions: A systematic review
Objective: Examine the effectiveness and impacts of the networked communication technologies used by health care professionals for the treatment of adolescents/young adults with mental health disorders. Methods: Nine electronic databases were searched. Quantitative and qualitative study designs were included, technologies were described and a narrative synthesis of all included studies was undertaken. Results: 20,925 papers were identified from which 12 interventions met the inclusion criteria. Three categories of networked communication were identified: email and/or web-based electronic diary (n= 6); videoconference (n= 5); and virtual reality (n= 1). Three studies reported statistically significant improvements in symptoms post intervention; all involved email communication. Patients were willing to use networked communication in routine care in nine studies. Conclusions: Networked communication technologies can increase the opportunity for communication between patient and health care professionals. Limited improvements in quality of life and continuity of care for patients were reported. Patients and health care professionals expressed some satisfaction with technologies. Further research exploring concerns over privacy and security is needed. Practice implications: Networked communication technologies have the potential to be a useful addition to mental health services delivery, however the impact and effectiveness of these technologies is inconclusive. © 2011.