The Use of Medical Crowdfunding to Mitigate the Personal Costs of Serious Chronic Illness: Scoping Review.

Publication date: Dec 04, 2023

Persons diagnosed with serious chronic illnesses and their caretakers experience multiple types of financial costs that strain their income and generate financial distress. Many turn to medical crowdfunding (MCF) to mitigate the harms of these costs on their health and quality of life. This scoping review aims to summarize the research on MCF for persons diagnosed with serious chronic illness regarding study designs and methods; the responsible conduct of research practices; and study foci as they relate to stress, stress appraisals, and the coping processes. This review was conducted in accordance with the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) and PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews) guidelines. Eligible studies were conducted in countries designated as high income by the World Bank and focused on beneficiaries diagnosed with serious chronic illness. The findings of the included studies were summarized as they related to the key concepts in a conceptual framework derived from an established stress, appraisal, and coping framework and a conceptual model of financial toxicity in pediatric oncology. Overall, 26 studies were eligible for inclusion in the review. The main findings included a lack of integration of qualitative and quantitative approaches and the inconsistent reporting of the responsible conduct of research practices. The included studies focused on financial stressors that contributed to financial burden, such as out-of-pocket payments of medical bills, basic living expenses, medical travel expenses, and lost income owing to illness-related work disruptions. Few studies addressed stress appraisals as threatening or the adequacy of available financial resources. When mentioned, appraisals related to the global financial struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic or the capacity of social network members to donate funds. The consequences of MCF included the receipt of 3 forms of social support (tangible, informational, and emotional), privacy loss, embarrassment, and the propagation of scientifically unsupported information. Studies found that friends and family tended to manage MCF campaigns. Although most of the studies (21/26, 81%) focused on monetary outcomes, a few (5/26, 19%) concentrated on peoples’ experiences with MCF. The identified methodological gaps highlight the need for more robust and reproducible approaches to using the copious data available on public MCF platforms. The integration of quantitative and qualitative methods will allow for nuanced explorations of the MCF experience. A more consistent elaboration of strategies to promote the responsible conduct of research is warranted to minimize risk to populations that are vulnerable and express concerns regarding the loss of privacy. Finally, an examination of the unanticipated consequences of MCF is critical for the development of future interventions to optimize existing supports while providing needed supports, financial and nonfinancial, that are lacking.

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Concepts Keywords
Bank appraisal
Copious caregiver
Crowdfunding chronic illness
Oncology coping
Pandemic coping behavior
medical crowdfunding
social network
social support
systematic scoping review


Type Source Name
disease MESH Chronic Illness
disease IDO quality
disease VO LACK
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
drug DRUGBANK Methylphenidate
disease VO time
drug DRUGBANK Spinosad
drug DRUGBANK Methionine
disease VO report
disease IDO country
disease VO Canada
disease IDO cell
disease MESH Urological cancers
disease MESH Kidney cancers
disease MESH testicular cancers
disease MESH cancer
disease MESH Spinal muscular atrophy
disease MESH rare diseases
disease MESH mental disorder
disease MESH lipoedema
disease MESH genetic disorders
disease MESH dementia
disease MESH multiple sclerosis
disease MESH autism spectrum disorder
disease MESH amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
pathway KEGG Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
disease MESH kidney failure
disease MESH muscular dystrophy
disease VO dose
disease MESH cerebral palsy
disease MESH anorexia nervosa
disease MESH paraplegia
disease MESH alcohol addiction
disease MESH gambling
disease MESH kidney disease
disease MESH chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
disease MESH joint disease
disease MESH Lyme disease
drug DRUGBANK Cannabidiol
disease MESH seizure
disease MESH nervous system diseases
disease VO population
disease VO biological sex
disease IDO symptom
disease VO Gap
disease IDO intervention
disease IDO process
drug DRUGBANK Isoxaflutole
disease VO Equity
disease VO effective
disease VO protocol
disease IDO site
drug DRUGBANK Coenzyme M
drug DRUGBANK Troleandomycin
disease MESH uncertainty
drug DRUGBANK Silver
disease MESH breast cancer
pathway KEGG Breast cancer
drug DRUGBANK Medical Cannabis
disease VO organ
drug DRUGBANK Guanosine
drug DRUGBANK Tropicamide
disease MESH Blood Cancer
pathway REACTOME Reproduction

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