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.
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- Cardiovascular risk factor
- Clinical outcomes
- Patient outcomes
- Student clinic