University of Oulu

Kekäläinen S, Virtanen M, Paalimäki-Paakki K, Oikarinen A, Kaakinen P, Kääriäinen M. Effectiveness of Digital Counseling Before Pediatric Diagnostic Imaging. Radiol Technol. 2023 Jan;94(3):180-196.

Effectiveness of digital counseling before pediatric diagnostic imaging

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Author: Kekäläinen, Sirpa1; Virtanen, Mari2; Paalimäki-Paakki, Karoliina3;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Health Sciences and Technology, University of Oulu, Finland
2Health Care Degree Program, Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Finland
3Oulu University in the Applied Sciences, Degree Program in Radiography and Radiation Therapy, Finland
4Oulu University Hospital
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: American Society of Radiologic Technologists, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-02-08


Purpose: To review and synthesize the available evidence on the effectiveness of preparatory digital counseling for children undergoing diagnostic imaging and their parents in terms of patient-related and imaging outcomes.

Methods: Relevant studies were identified by searching databases and gray literature resources. References from full-text articles identified in the initial search were searched manually to identify additional relevant studies. The reviewed literature included studies on children and adolescents aged 3 to 21 years, their parents, or both, who participated in digital counseling interventions before medical imaging examinations. Literature selection and quality appraisal were conducted by 2 independent reviewers. Data were extracted using standardized tools and synthesized using the narrative synthesis approach. This review was reported according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines.

Results: Five randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental studies were included in this review. Digital counseling was provided via multiple approaches with interactive elements. Digital counseling was reported to be effective at reducing anxiety and increasing knowledge and satisfaction among children and their parents. It also appeared to reduce the need for general anesthesia and to improve the success of imaging procedures based on image quality and number of repeated images required. Digital counseling also appeared to increase children’s confidence and help them remain still during the imaging process.

Discussion: The increased knowledge from digital counseling can strengthen senses of security and self-efficacy, which are important for successful medical imaging examinations, especially in children. The digital counseling applications used in the included studies are location-independent, and children and their parents can use them as often as they want, which might help ensure the provision of sufficient counseling before procedures.

Conclusions: Digital counseling seems to be an effective method for preparing children for diagnostic imaging and a useful tool for facilitating successful medical imaging examinations of children. Because of the small number of original studies in this area, further research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of digital counseling in children’s diagnostic imaging.

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Series: Radiologic technology
ISSN: 0033-8397
ISSN-E: 1943-5657
ISSN-L: 0033-8397
Volume: 94
Issue: 3
Pages: 180 - 196
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology
316 Nursing
Copyright information: © 2023 by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. All rights reserved. Used with permission of the ASRT for educational purposes only.