OBJECTIVE: This study reviewed progress in the use and adoption of telemedicine in Middle Eastern countries. The key dimensions affecting the progress of telemedicine in these countries were identified.
METHOD: A systematic review of the literature was conducted on 43 peer reviewed articles from 2010 to 2020. The review followed the scientific process of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines of identification, selection, assessment, synthesis, and interpretation of findings.
RESULTS: The results showed that progress made in the utilization of telemedicine was insufficient and varies across Middle Eastern countries. Certain cultural, financial, organizational, individual, technological, legal, and regulatory challenges were found to prevent telemedicine from being fully used to the point where the full range of medical services can be provided. For example, doctor and patient resistance, poor infrastructure, lack of funding, poor system quality, and lack of information technology training were associated with the low adoption of telemedicine in the region.
CONCLUSION: This review provides a number of recommendations that will help policymakers to move toward the integration of innovative technologies in order to facilitate access to health information, health services, and training. It also recommends that health initiatives should focus on health education and health promotion in order to increase public awareness of the benefits of telemedicine services in the region.
METHODS: In this prospective cohort study, we included 1,365 employees enrolled in the university's workplace health promotion program, a program conducted since 2008 and using data from the 2008-2013 follow-up period. Participants were permanent employees aged 35 years and above, with at least one follow up measurements and no change in antihypertensive medication during the study period. Baseline socio-demographic information was collected using a questionnaire while anthropometry measurements and resting blood pressure were collected during annual health screening. Changes in blood pressure over time were analyzed using a linear mixed model.
RESULTS: The systolic blood pressure in the hypertension subgroup decreased 2.36 mmHg per year (p<0.0001). There was also significant improvement in systolic blood pressure among the participants who were at risk of hypertension (-0.75 mmHg, p<0.001). The diastolic blood pressure among the hypertensive and at risk subgroups improved 1.76 mmHg/year (p<0.001) and 0.56 mmHg/year (p<0.001), respectively. However, there was no change in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure among participants in the healthy subgroup over the 6-year period.
CONCLUSION: This study shows that continuing participation in workplace health promotion program has the potential to improve blood pressure levels among employees.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of a teacher-led Healthy Lifestyle Program on eating behaviors among adolescents in Malaysia.
METHODS: This was a cluster randomized controlled trial (conducted in 2012 to 2014), with 100 schools randomly selected from 721 schools, then assigned to 50 intervention schools and 50 control schools. A Healthy Eating and Be Active among Teens (HEBAT) module was developed for pretrained teachers to deliver a Healthy Lifestyle Program on eating behaviors among adolescents. Eating behaviors of the respondents was determined using Eating Behaviors Questionnaire. Linear Mixed Model analysis and χ2 test were used to determine within- and between-group effects of studied variables.
RESULTS: A total of 4277 respondents participated in this study, with 2635 samples involved in the final analysis, comprised of 921 intervention and 1714 control respondents. There were 32.4% (36.4%) males and 67.6% (63.6%) females in the intervention (control) group. Mean age was comparable between the groups (intervention = 12.98 years; control = 12.97 years). Majority of the respondents skipped meals at baseline (intervention = 74.7%; control = 79.5%). After the program, intervention respondents had higher consumption frequency of lunch, dinner, and mid-morning snack but a lower consumption frequency of late-evening snack and meal skipping behaviors than their control counterparts.
CONCLUSION: The teacher-led Healthy Lifestyle Program was effective in reducing meal-skipping behaviors among Malaysian adolescents.