John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Efficacy of e-health and smart devices in occupational health and safety: a literature review Volume 18, issue 6, November-December 2019


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1 Laboratoire modélisation, épidémiologie et surveillance des risques sanitaires EA4628
292, rue Saint Martin
75141 Paris cedex 03
2 Chaire Entreprises et santé
Cnam Malakoff-Médéric
21, rue Laffitte
75009 Paris
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There will be nearly 20 billion smart devices in 2020. These devices and the digital applications they run will be present in all areas of daily life, particularly in health fields, from healthcare to monitoring and aftercare. But is there any scientific evidence of their usefulness, effects, and effectiveness in occupational health and safety?

We reviewed the literature to assess how the use of these objects might be envisioned in occupational settings and to examine the available evidence of their health and safety effects. We searched bibliographic reference databases for published articles in English and French that used as their sole study population salaried staff. The selected articles were then systematically analyzed and interpreted, in particular to develop a new typology of the uses of smart devices and digital applications.

We identified only 23 relevant articles, a finding that highlights the very wide gap between the mass of publications in the general literature and the number of articles available in the scientific literature. In addition, most publications still assess only the acceptability and feasibility of devices, but not their effectiveness. There are more publications on the effects of digital applications on smartphones, but with limited populations. Finally, many studies use mixed methods to analyze devices and applications, but the randomized trial remains the gold standard for this approach.

Finally, research teams have reported only sparse evidence about the effectiveness of smart devices and digital applications in the fields of occupational health and safety. Research/enterprise partnerships could help to improve the quantity and quality of the evidence available.

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