Journal of telemedicine and telecare 2016 Nov 9() pii 1357633X16679049
This study was designed to determine the feasibility, tolerability, safety and efficacy of a smartphone pain application (app) among chronic pain patients over a six-month trial. The app was designed for both Android and iPhone devices and enabled users with chronic pain to assess, monitor, and communicate their status to their providers.
We recruited 90 chronic pain patients to use the pain app. All subjects completed baseline measures and were asked to record their progress every day. All participants were supplied an activity monitor.
Average age of the participants was 46.7 years (range 18-79), 64.4% were female and 31.1% reported multiple pain sites. Satisfaction was rated at three and six months. The app was found to be easily introduced and well tolerated. In general, those who used the app more often were more satisfied with the program (p < 0.05), although satisfaction ratings of the pain app diminished with time. Greater use of the app and frequent daily assessment entries were found to be related to an overall improvement in mood. However, contrary to our hypotheses, frequent use of the app did not have a positive effect on pain or activity. Those who were more satisfied with the app reported more pain-related disability and were less active than those who were less satisfied with the app. No safety issues were encountered. DISCUSSION
Strategies to make the program more engaging and to improve motivation to use the app would be important in the future development and use of a smartphone pain app.