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Slattery, BW;Haugh, S;Francis, K;O'Connor, L;Barrett, K;Dwyer, CP;O'Higgins, S;Egan, J;McGuire, BE
Protocol for a systematic review with network meta-analysis of the modalities used to deliver eHealth interventions for chronic pain
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Background: As eHealth interventions prove both efficacious and practical, and as they arguably overcome certain barriers encountered by traditional face-to-face treatment for chronic pain, their number has increased dramatically in recent times. However, there is a dearth of research that focuses on evaluating and comparing the different types of technology-assisted interventions. This is a protocol for a systematic review that aims to evaluate the eHealth modalities in the context of psychological and non-psychological (other than non-drug) interventions for chronic pain.Methods/design: We will search the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL: The Cochrane Library), MEDLINE, Embase and PsycINFO. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) with more than 20 participants per trial arm that have evaluated non-drug psychological or non-psychological interventions delivered via an eHealth modality and have pain as an outcome measure will be included. Two review authors will independently extract data and assess the study suitability in accordance with the Cochrane Collaboration Risk of Bias Tool. Studies will be included if they measure at least one outcome variable in accordance with the IMMPACT guidelines (i.e. pain severity, pain interference, physical functioning, symptoms, emotional functioning, global improvement and disposition). Secondary outcomes will be measures of depression and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). A network meta-analysis will be conducted based on direct comparisons to generate indirect comparisons of modalities across treatment trials, which will return rankings for the eHealth modalities in terms of their effectiveness.Discussion: Most trials that use an eHealth intervention to manage chronic pain typically use one modality. As a result, little evidence exists to support which modality type is the most effective. The current review will address this gap in the literature and compare the different eHealth modalities used for technology-assisted interventions for chronic pain. With the growing reliance and use of technology as a medium for delivering treatment for chronic conditions more generally, it is imperative that research identify the most efficacious eHealth modalities and systematically identify the most important features of such treatment types, so they may be replicated and used for research and in the provision of care.
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