en
Scientific article
Review
Open access
English

Telemedicine to deliver diabetes care in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Published inBulletin of the World Health Organization, vol. 99, no. 3, p. 209-219B
Publication date2021
Abstract

Objective: To determine the effectiveness of telemedicine in the delivery of diabetes care in low- and middle-income countries. Methods: We searched seven databases up to July 2020 for randomized controlled trials investigating the effectiveness of telemedicine in the delivery of diabetes care in low- and middle-income countries. We extracted data on the study characteristics, primary end-points and effect sizes of outcomes. Using random effects analyses, we ran a series of meta-analyses for both biochemical outcomes and related patient properties. Findings: We included 31 interventions in our meta-analysis. We observed significant standardized mean differences of -0.38 for glycated haemoglobin (95% confidence interval, CI: -0.52 to -0.23; I 2 = 86.70%), -0.20 for fasting blood sugar (95% CI: -0.32 to -0.08; I 2 = 64.28%), 0.81 for adherence to treatment (95% CI: 0.19 to 1.42; I 2 = 93.75%), 0.55 for diabetes knowledge (95% CI: -0.10 to 1.20; I 2 = 92.65%) and 1.68 for self-efficacy (95% CI: 1.06 to 2.30; I 2 = 97.15%). We observed no significant treatment effects for other outcomes, with standardized mean differences of -0.04 for body mass index (95% CI: -0.13 to 0.05; I 2 = 35.94%), -0.06 for total cholesterol (95% CI: -0.16 to 0.04; I 2 = 59.93%) and -0.02 for triglycerides (95% CI: -0.12 to 0.09; I 2 = 0%). Interventions via telephone and short message service yielded the highest treatment effects compared with services based on telemetry and smartphone applications. Conclusion: Although we determined that telemedicine is effective in improving several diabetes-related outcomes, the certainty of evidence was very low due to substantial heterogeneity and risk of bias.

Citation (ISO format)
CORREIA, Jorge et al. Telemedicine to deliver diabetes care in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis. In: Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2021, vol. 99, n° 3, p. 209–219B. doi: 10.2471/BLT.19.250068
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ISSN of the journal0042-9686
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