A systematic review on the effect of ICT on social support measures in healthcare

Uchenna Nnabuko, Stuart Anderson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Background: With increased popularity in the use of ICT in healthcare to provide support to individuals, it is imperative to investigate the impact of ICT on social support measures in health and social care.
Objective: This study aims to review literature on the effectiveness of ICT-based tools and intervention on social support measures with reference to health and illness.
Methods: Relevant databases (PubMed\MEDLINE, clinicaltrials.gov and Cochrane Library) were systematically searched using a combination of key search terms. To be included in the review, studies had to be published in English language, be published between 2000 and 2017, apply ICT intervention on a health-related condition and report the effect of ICT on social support measures.
Results: The database search produced 4,226 articles. After screening, 30 eligible papers were selected for the review. The studies were quite heterogeneous in terms of study design, age of participants, reported outcome, outcome measuring tool and health condition of participants. 20% of included studies were rated as low-quality evidence, with a high risk of research bias. Over 75% of reviewed studies reported a positive impact of ICT on social support measures. The results show that ICT interventions have a statistically significant positive impact on social support measures. Social network was found to have the most impact on social support measures.
Conclusion: There is need for more high-quality research on the effect of ICT on social support measures. The results of this systematic review suggest that ICT could effectively provide social support to individuals, although the degree of its
effect could depend on the nature of ICT tool used and the well-being status of individuals. Further work in the use of ICT to provide social support for preventive healthcare is recommended. Also, more research investigating the effect of Smartphone-based instant messaging applications (such as WhatsApp and Snapchat) and virtual reality technology on social support is encouraged.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference e-Health 2017
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-989-8533-65-4
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2017
Event9th International Conference on e-Health - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 20 Jul 201722 Jul 2017


Conference9th International Conference on e-Health
Abbreviated titlee-Health 2017
Internet address


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