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Table 1 Summary study characteristicsa

From: Effectiveness of digital interventions to improve household and community infection prevention and control behaviours and to reduce incidence of respiratory and/or gastro-intestinal infections: a rapid systematic review

Study Country Design Disease Setting Population Mode of Delivery Intervention(s) Control Duration of intervention Outcome Measures
Bourgeois 2008 [16] US RCT Flu Workplace 144 Healthy adults Personally controlled health record program Messages on influenza illness and prevention, tailored based on survey information provided and on postcode Four monthly bulletins providing information on cardiovascular disease, stroke, skin cancer and sun protection, and guidelines for a healthy diet 16 weeks The rate of work attendance despite a respiratory illness,
Question in exit survey on hand hygiene
Question in exit survey on cough etiquette
Hu 2018 [17] China Non-randomised but controlled trial HFMD Kindergartens and home 10 staff, 60 parents and 60 healthy children WeChat WeChat education group (for GPs, staff, and parents) + Usual care Usual care:
health education, delivered face to face.
3 months Incidence of HFMD
Proportion of children who mastered the correct way of washing hands (measured at end of treatment)
Proportion of children who formed good habits of washing hands (measured at end of treatment)
Hu 2019 [18] China RCT HFMD Community Health Service Center and home Parents of 120 children with HFMD WeChat WeChat education group (for GPs and parents) Usual care:
health education, delivered face to face.
14 days Duration of rash
Time to recovery
Judah 2009 [19] England RCT n/a Service station bathrooms Highway service station bathroom users, more than 198,000 restroom uses over 32 days Text-only message, displayed on an electronic dot matrix
screen over the entryway to the 2 restrooms
14 different intervention messages covering seven domains, max 48 characters, all included the word ‘soap’. Blank control:
no message on the board
Positive control:
“Wash your hands with soap.”
July–September 2008 Soap use ratio
Soap dispenser use divided by number of people in the bathroom during the intervention period (1-h intervals)
Little 2015 [9] UK RCT RTIs Online 20,066 adult patients from 344 practices, who had at least one other individual living in the household Web-based and email prompts Four weekly web-based sessions, that provided information, developed a plan for handwashing, reinforced helpful attitudes and norms, addressed negative beliefs and used tailored feedback.
Automated emails were used to prompt participants to use sessions and complete questionnaires
No treatment:
The control group did not have access to the intervention webpages, but they had monthly emails to prompt them to complete the questionnaires.
4 months Self-reported infections in user (incidence and severity of respiratory infections, incidence of gastrointestinal infections)
Self-reported incidence of respiratory infections in household members
Self-reported handwashing
Health care use as assessed from medical records (number of GP consultations and antibiotic prescriptions)
Tidwell 2019 [20]
Study 2
India RCT n/a Home 617 new mothers, 605 mothers of 4–7 year olds Mobile phone audio messages (all); reminder texts (new mothers only) Audio phone messages of 90s, twice weekly, conveying health messages via a fictional dialogue between a doctor and a mother; Text reminders to practice the target behaviours No intervention (though control sample also had to own a phone) 8 weeks (new mothers),
4 weeks (mothers of 4–7 year-olds)
Handwashing with soap at key occasions;
Measured 21 days after the end of the intervention using sticker diaries
Wu 2020 [21] China RCT HFMD Home 3000 parents of vaccinated healthy children aged 0–3 Text messages Messages of < 50 words, about knowledge, prevention and treatment of HFMD, sent at least weekly, with a total of 16–20 messages. No intervention 5 months Proportion of children who wash hands before eating and after going to the toilet (measured at baseline and 1 year)
Proportion of children who wash hands after going out (measured at baseline and 1 year)
  1. aHFMD Hand Foot Mouth Disease, RCT Randomized controlled trial, RTI Respiratory tract infections, UK United Kingdom