The Particulars: Data indicate that pain is one of the leading complaints among ED patients. Patient satisfaction has been shown to improve when greater attention is given to pain assessment. The Automated Pain Tracker (APT) device is a software application run on a table computer that allows patients to indicate pain levels and their desire for analgesia through a link to a central monitor in the ED nurses’ station. Whether the APT device improves analgesia receipt has yet to be determined.

Data Breakdown: Investigators compared receipt of any analgesia among ED patients who used APT and those who were provided standard care. They found that those in the APT group were more likely to receive analgesia (77% vs 45%). In addition, the time from initial pain assessment to first analgesic does was significantly shorter in the ATP group (39 minutes vs 52 minutes).

Take Home Pearl: Use of an automated pain tracking device in the ED appears to increase the administration of analgesia and decrease time from initial pain assessments to first analgesic doses.