Telemedicine in Malignant and Nonmalignant Hematology: Systematic Review of Pediatric and Adult Studies

Aashaka C. Shah, Linda C. O'Dwyer, Sherif M. Badawy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Telemedicine, including video-, web-, and telephone-based interventions, is used in adult and pediatric populations to deliver health care and communicate with patients. In the realm of hematology, telemedicine has recently been used to safely and efficiently monitor treatment side-effects, perform consultations, and broaden the reach of subspecialty care. Objective: We aimed to synthesize and analyze information regarding the feasibility, acceptability, and potential benefits of telemedicine interventions in malignant and nonmalignant hematology, as well as assess the recognized limitations of these interventions. Methods: Studies were identified through a comprehensive Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) search on the PubMed MEDLINE, Controlled Register of Clinical Trials (Cochrane CENTRAL from Wiley), Embase, and CINAHL (EBSCO) databases on February 7, 2018. A second search, utilizing the same search strategy, was performed on October 1, 2020. We followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines in the reporting of included evidence. Included studies were original articles researching the feasibility, acceptability, and clinical outcomes of telemedicine or telehealth interventions in pediatric or adult populations with malignant or nonmalignant hematological conditions. Data items in the extraction form included first author name, publication year, country, malignant or nonmalignant hematological condition or disease focus of the study, participant age, participant age subgroup (pediatric or adult), study design and setting, telemedicine intervention type and description, study purpose, and main study outcomes. Results: A total of 32 articles met the preset criteria and were included in this study. Most (25/32) studies were conducted in adults, and the remaining (7/32) were conducted in the pediatric population. Of the 32 studies, 12 studied malignant hematological conditions, 18 studied nonmalignant conditions, and two studied both malignant and nonmalignant conditions. Study types included pilot study (11/32), retrospective study (9/32), randomized controlled trial (6/32), cross-sectional study (2/32), case study (1/32), pre-post study (1/32), noncomparative prospective study (1/32), and prospective cohort study (1/32). The three main types of telemedicine interventions utilized across all studies were video-based (9/32), telephone-based (9/32), and web-based interventions (14/32). Study results showed comparable outcomes between telemedicine and traditional patient encounter groups across both pediatric and adult populations for malignant and nonmalignant hematological conditions. Conclusions: Evidence from this review suggests that telemedicine use in nonmalignant and malignant hematology provides similar or improved health care compared to face-to-face encounters in both pediatric and adult populations. Telemedicine interventions utilized in the included studies were well received in both pediatric and adult settings. However, more research is needed to determine the efficacy of implementing more widespread use of telemedicine for hematological conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere29619
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Digital health
  • Digital medicine
  • Ehealth
  • Hematology
  • Intervention
  • Malignant
  • Mhealth
  • Nonmalignant
  • Telehealth
  • Telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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