The effect of telehealth interventions on quality of life of cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Jamie L. Larson, Adam B. Rosen, Fernando Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Introduction: In 2016, ∼1.7 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed. Cancer patients can have physical, functional, and psychosocial issues when dealing with cancer treatment. Telehealth has been effectively introduced to help deliver treatment to patients suffering from chronic disease; however, there is little consensus on its effectiveness in administering sociobehavioral cancer treatments. Thus, this study determines the benefits of telehealth-based interventions providing emotional and symptom support in improving quality of life (QOL) among cancer patients. Methods: Two researchers conducted comprehensive searches on PubMed, SCOPUS, Medline, PsycINFO, ERIC, Psychology and Behavioral Collection, and Medline Complete. Key search terms included telehealth or telemedicine and QOL and cancer. Articles were included if they assessed a telehealth-delivered intervention for adult cancer patients and provided a QOL assessment. Data were extracted to calculate mean effect sizes for QOL measures on the effectiveness of telehealth relative to usual care (UC) for cancer treatments. Results: Out of 414 articles identified in our initial search, nine articles fit our inclusion criteria. Both telehealth (Hedges g = 0.211, p = 0.016) and standard of care (Hedges g = 0.217, p < 0.001) cancer treatment delivery methods demonstrated small, but statistically significant improvements in QOL measures. However, there were no statistically significant differences in effectiveness between the telehealth interventions and UC (p = 0.76). Conclusions: The results indicate that telehealth interventions are as effective at improving QOL scores in patients undergoing cancer treatment as in-person UC. Further studies should be undertaken on different modalities of telehealth to determine its appropriate and effective use in interventions to improve the QOL for cancer patients undergoing treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-405
Number of pages9
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • e-health
  • telehealth
  • telemedicine
  • telepsychiatry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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