A systematic review and meta-analysis of digital health technologies effects on psychotic symptoms in adults with psychosis

Stephen Clarke, Donncha Hanna*, Ciaran Mulholland, Ciaran Shannon, Callum Urquhart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To conduct a systematic review of controlled studies to determine the effect of digital health technologies on psychotic symptoms. 

Method: Electronic databases were searched up to March 2019. A narrative synthesis and meta-analyses of subcategories were completed. 

Results: Twenty-one articles met inclusion criteria, covering three DHT types: avatar therapy, phone apps and computer-assisted cognitive remediation (CACR). In the latter, psychotic symptoms were secondary outcomes and only one of nine CACR studies demonstrated an effect on these symptoms. All four of the avatar trials and one of three phone app studies provided preliminary evidence of effectiveness in reducing psychotic symptoms. 

Conclusion: Although effectiveness of DHTs for reducing psychotic symptoms cannot yet be conclusively established, the emerging literature suggests that DHTs using immersive avatar therapy holds most promise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-373
Issue number4
Early online date12 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 08 Nov 2019



  • avatar therapy
  • computerised cognitive remediation
  • digital health technologies
  • phone apps
  • Psychotic symptoms

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