Queensland researchers take the pain out of pain apps

20 June 2016

Researchers from The University of Queensland are seeking public input as they develop a mobile app to help chronic pain sufferers and healthcare providers manage and treat pain.

The app will help patients track their symptoms and medication while providing helpful information and support

Researcher Kathleen Yin from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience said chronic pain had a huge effect on people worldwide, striking one in five, including children and adolescents, and one in three people over 65.

“We were inspired to create the app after meeting with chronic pain patients and learning that there are no good digital tools for people to track the progress of their disease,” Ms Yin said.

“Pain is personal – it affects everyone differently, and simply recording painful events is insufficient to really understand the impact it has on lives.

“Unlike other pain apps, our app will help us understand how pain affects patients’ lives, for example, how long they can work or exercise and the effectiveness of treatments, painting a more holistic picture of their daily experiences.”

Ms Yin said this would allow medical professionals to monitor and improve treatments based on patient data.

“Our app will provide simple graphs that give invaluable insights into each individual’s pain patterns – including possible triggers and solutions, allowing for tailored treatments.”

IMB Centre for Pain Research Deputy Director Dr Irina Vetter said PainPal had the potential to revolutionise understanding of pain.

“Pain is complex, but tools such as this could lead to healthcare breakthroughs by bringing patients, clinicians and researchers together to achieve more effective and personalised pain management,” Dr Vetter said.

“We want to ensure our app really meets the needs of chronic pain sufferers, and nobody knows the impact of pain better than those it inflicts.

“We’re relying on pain patients to help us refine the app by completing a survey and giving us further insight into the impact pain has on their lives.”

Help IMB develop a truly effective solution by completing an anonymous 20 minute survey here: http://bit.ly/IMBpainsurvey.

Media: Heidi Jones, communications@imb.uq.edu.au, 07 3346 2134.


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