Effect of student-led health interventions on patient outcomes for those with cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular disease risk factors: a systematic review

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BACKGROUND: As the need for health care services rise, alternative service delivery models such as student-led health interventions become attractive alternatives to alleviate the burden on healthcare. Predominantly, student-led health interventions were free clinics servicing socially disadvantaged communities in the USA. A 2015 systematic review identified that students value these student-run clinics and reported skill and knowledge attainment from participating. Previous research has reported on patient satisfaction outcomes, but less frequently about the clinical outcomes patients accrue from these student-delivered services. As cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, this review aimed to explore the effectiveness of student-led health interventions through examining their impact on objective clinical outcomes, using the case of patients at risk of, or with, cardiovascular disease. METHODS: A systematic literature search was conducted in eight electronic databases to identify student-led health interventions conducted on adults with a cardiovascular disease risk factor or established cardiovascular disease, and a clinical outcome of interest. Through double-blinded screening and data extraction, sixteen studies were identified for synthesis. RESULTS: The majority of student-led health interventions for patients at risk of cardiovascular disease demonstrated a positive impact on patient health. Statistically significant changes amongst patients at risk of cardiovascular disease appeared to be associated with student-led individualised intervention or group-based interventions amongst patients with diabetes or those who are overweight or obese. The evidence was of moderate quality, as included studies lacked a control group for comparison and detail to enable the intervention to be replicated. CONCLUSIONS: Future research applying a student-led health intervention through a randomised control trial, with rigorous reporting of both student and patient interventions and outcomes, are required to further understand the effectiveness of this alternative service delivery model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number332
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
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  • Cardiovascular risk factor
  • Clinical outcomes
  • Patient outcomes
  • Student clinic


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