The Use of Phone Technology in Outpatient Populations: A Systematic Review

Ana C. Duarte*, Sue A. Thomas
Department of Family and Community Health, University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA

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© Duarte and Thomas; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Family and Community Health, University of Maryland School of Nursing, 655 W. Lombard Street, Room 592, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA; Tel: 410-706-3047; Fax: 410-706-0253; E-mail:



A systematic review was conducted to identify the types of phone technology used in the adult outpatient population with a focus on Hispanic patients and psychiatric populations.


A search for articles was conducted on the EMBASE, PubMed and PsycINFO databases. Articles reviewed were peer-reviewed, full-text, English language and published through mid-November 2014.


Twenty-one articles were included in this review and grouped according to combinations of phone technology, medical specialty area and population. For all articles, phone technology was defined as telephone, cell, or smart phone. Technology was used in psychiatry with Hispanic population in four articles, in psychiatry with non-Hispanic population in seven articles and in other specialties with Hispanic population in ten articles. Articles were evaluated for quality. Six articles were assessed as strong, eight were moderate and seven were weak in global quality. Interventions included direct communication, text messaging, interactive voice response, camera and smart phone app. Studies with Hispanic populations used more text messaging, while studies in psychiatry favored direct communication. The majority of articles in all groups yielded improvements in health outcomes.


Few studies have been conducted using phone technology in Hispanic and psychiatric populations. Various phone technologies can be helpful to patients in diverse populations and have demonstrated success in improving a variety of specific and overall healthcare outcomes. Phone technologies are easily adapted to numerous settings and populations and are valuable tools in efforts to increase access to care.

Keywords: Adherence, Hispanic, Patient outcomes, Psychiatry, Self-care management, Technology.