Impact of Parent-Targeted eHealth on Parent and Infant Health Outcomes: A Scoping Review
Improved communication, education, and parental involvement in infant care have been demonstrated to enhance parental well-being and neonatal health outcomes. eHealth has the potential to increase parental presence in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). There has been no synthesized review on the direct impact of eHealth use on parental and neonatal health outcomes. The aim of this scoping review is to explore eHealth utilization by families of high-risk newborn infants in the NICU and/or postdischarge on health outcomes. PubMed, CINAHL, and EMBASE were searched from 1980 to October 2015 using key terms for “neonatal,” “parents,” “eHealth,” and “patient education.” Criteria of peer-reviewed empirical studies published in English, targeting parents of NICU infants regardless of diagnosis, and eHealth utilization during NICU stay or postdischarge yielded 2218 studies. Extracted data were synthesized using thematic content analysis. Ten studies met inclusion, and 5 themes emerged: usability and feasibility, parental perceived benefits, infant's hospital length of stay, knowledge uptake, and predictors of variations in use. eHealth utilization was found to be desired by parents and promotes positive change in parental experience in the NICU. Actual and perceived benefits of eHealth for parents included ease of use, higher confidence in infant care, satisfaction, and knowledge uptake.