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Archivos de Prevención de Riesgos Laborales

versión On-line ISSN 1578-2549


AREVALO ALONSO, Gema. Systematic review of the role of digital health in managing sickness absence and return to work. Arch Prev Riesgos Labor [online]. 2022, vol.25, n.1, pp.34-60.  Epub 14-Mar-2022. ISSN 1578-2549.


Digital technologies have become a strategy to improve the effectiveness of health services. The objective of this study was to analyse the impact of the use of digital health tools on the management of sickness absence and return to work.


A systematic review was conducted in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. The following databases were searched for the period April 2021 to June 2021: Pubmed, Cochrane, Web of Science, CINAHL and ScienceDirect. Methodological quality was assessed by using the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) critical appraisal tools.


A total of 24 studies were eligible for inclusion; there was great heterogeneity of results, due to a wide range of measurement methods. The majority of outcomes supported the use of digital tools as making an important contribution to in managing the number of sickness absence and return to work cases. In some studies, there were no significant changes as compared to traditional case management; nevertheless, none of the 24 studies found detrimental effects due to the use of digital health tools. Additionally, 10 of the studies provided data on presenteeism and other determinants of\ sickness absence and return to work, including resilience, work engagement and psychological detachment from work.


The use of digital health tools contributes positively to the recovery of workers who are in a situation of temporary disability, facilitating the management of return to work and favoring a decrease in workplace sickness absence.

Palabras clave : telemedicine; digital technology; return to work; absenteeism; sickness absence; occupational health; occupational health nursing; chronic disease.

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