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Remote versus face-to-face check-ups for asthma

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2016
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (94th percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (71st percentile)

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Remote versus face-to-face check-ups for asthma
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd011715.pub2
Pubmed ID

Kayleigh M Kew, Christopher J Cates


Asthma remains a significant cause of avoidable morbidity and mortality. Regular check-ups with a healthcare professional are essential to monitor symptoms and adjust medication.Health services worldwide are considering telephone and internet technologies as a way to manage the rising number of people with asthma and other long-term health conditions. This may serve to improve health and reduce the burden on emergency and inpatient services. Remote check-ups may represent an unobtrusive and efficient way of maintaining contact with patients, but it is uncertain whether conducting check-ups in this way is effective or whether it may have unexpected negative consequences. To assess the safety and efficacy of conducting asthma check-ups remotely versus usual face-to-face consultations. We identified trials from the Cochrane Airways Review Group Specialised Register (CAGR) up to 24 November 2015. We also searched www.clinicaltrials.gov, the World Health Organization (WHO) trials portal, reference lists of other reviews and contacted trial authors for additional information. We included parallel randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of adults or children with asthma that compared remote check-ups conducted using any form of technology versus standard face-to-face consultations. We excluded studies that used automated telehealth interventions that did not include personalised contact with a health professional. We included studies reported as full-text articles, as abstracts only and unpublished data. Two review authors screened the literature search results and independently extracted risk of bias and numerical data. We resolved any disagreements by consensus, and we contacted study authors for missing information.We analysed dichotomous data as odds ratios (ORs) using study participants as the unit of analysis, and continuous data as mean differences using the random-effects models. We rated all outcomes using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. Six studies including a total of 2100 participants met the inclusion criteria: we pooled four studies including 792 people in the main efficacy analyses, and presented the results of a cluster implementation study (n = 1213) and an oral steroid tapering study (n = 95) separately. Baseline characteristics relating to asthma severity were variable, but studies generally recruited people with asthma taking regular medications and excluded those with COPD or severe asthma. One study compared the two types of check-up for oral steroid tapering in severe refractory asthma and we assessed it as a separate question. The studies could not be blinded and dropout was high in four of the six studies, which may have biased the results.We could not say whether more people who had a remote check-up needed oral corticosteroids for an asthma exacerbation than those who were seen face-to-face because the confidence intervals (CIs) were very wide (OR 1.74, 95% CI 0.41 to 7.44; 278 participants; one study; low quality evidence). In the face-to-face check-up groups, 21 participants out of 1000 had exacerbations that required oral steroids over three months, compared to 36 (95% CI nine to 139) out of 1000 for the remote check-up group. Exacerbations that needed treatment in the Emergency Department (ED), hospital admission or an unscheduled healthcare visit all happened too infrequently to detect whether remote check-ups are a safe alternative to face-to-face consultations. Serious adverse events were not reported separately from the exacerbation outcomes.There was no difference in asthma control measured by the Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) or in quality of life measured on the Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ) between remote and face-to-face check-ups. We could rule out significant harm of remote check-ups for these outcomes but we were less confident because these outcomes are more prone to bias from lack of blinding.The larger implementation study that compared two general practice populations demonstrated that offering telephone check-ups and proactively phoning participants increased the number of people with asthma who received a review. However, we do not know whether the additional participants who had a telephone check-up subsequently benefited in asthma outcomes. Current randomised evidence does not demonstrate any important differences between face-to-face and remote asthma check-ups in terms of exacerbations, asthma control or quality of life. There is insufficient information to rule out differences in efficacy, or to say whether or not remote asthma check-ups are a safe alternative to being seen face-to-face.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 100 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 100 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 26 26%
Researcher 18 18%
Student > Bachelor 14 14%
Unspecified 11 11%
Student > Doctoral Student 9 9%
Other 22 22%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 37 37%
Nursing and Health Professions 18 18%
Unspecified 12 12%
Psychology 8 8%
Business, Management and Accounting 4 4%
Other 21 21%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 36. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 01 May 2018.
All research outputs
of 12,456,513 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 8,631 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 266,237 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 145 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 12,456,513 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 96th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 8,631 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 20.5. This one has done well, scoring higher than 87% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 266,237 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 94% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 145 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 71% of its contemporaries.