Information and communication technology in patient education and support for people with schizophrenia

Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku, Southwest Hospital District, Turku, Finland.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 6.03). 10/2012; 10(10):CD007198. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007198.pub2
Source: PubMed


Information and Communication Technology (ICT) includes the use of computers, telephones, television and radio, video and audio recordings. It consists of all technical means used to handle information and communication. During the last twenty years there has been a growing trend towards the use of ICT for the delivery of education, treatment and social support for people with mental illness. Education about illness and treatment has been found to be a good way to increase a person's awareness of their health. ICT has the potential to improve many aspects of overall care, including: better education and social support; improved information and management of illness; increased access to health services; improved quality of care; better contact and continuity with services and cut costs. Recent studies show that ICT and the web may also support people in their working lives and social relationships plus help cope with depression and anxiety. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the specific effectiveness of ICT for helping people with severe mental health problems such as schizophrenia. This review includes six studies with a total of 1063 people. Although education and support using ICT shows great promise, there was no clear benefit of using ICT (when compared with standard or usual care and/or other methods of education and support) for people with severe mental illness. However, the authors of the review suggest that this should not put off or postpone future high quality research on ICT, which is a promising and growing area of much importance. This Plain Language Summary has been written by Benjamin Gray, Service User and Service User Expert, Rethink Mental Illness. Email:

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