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Prim Care Diabetes. 2019 Feb;13(1):16-27. doi: 10.1016/j.pcd.2018.07.011. Epub 2018 Aug 18.

Online patient education interventions in type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease: A systematic review of systematic reviews.

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Leicester Diabetes Research Centre, University of Leicester, United Kingdom. Electronic address:
Leicester Diabetes Research Centre, University of Leicester, United Kingdom.



Online patient education is a growing form of support to patients with chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes (Type 2 DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Multiple systematic reviews have been undertaken on this topic with conflicting results. We aim to explore the applications of online patient education in Type 2 DM and CVD and synthesise current evidence.


A systematic review of systematic reviews was performed. Ovid Medline, EMBASE and Cochrane Database were searched between January 2005 and May 2018. Systematic reviews considering patient outcomes of online education interventions for adults with Type 2 DM and/or CVD were included. Quality assessment and data extraction was carried out in duplicate, and data combined using narrative synthesis. The PROSPERO registration number is CRD42016034018.


Twenty-three systematic reviews were eligible, synthesizing evidence from 87 distinct primary studies. Six reviews were high quality, nine used meta-analysis. Biological, behavioural, psychological, knowledge and self-efficacy measures are all potential targets. The outcomes most consistently showing benefits were knowledge and social support.


Online patient education has wide ranging benefits for people with Type 2 DM or CVD. Strengths of this review include its comprehensive synthesis of the large amount of literature on this topic.


Cardiovascular disease; Online; Patient education; Systematic review; Type 2 diabetes

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