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Wellbeing Management App Reduces Chronic Pain Symptoms

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 18 Mar 2021
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Image: The Manage My Pain (MMP) app (Photo courtesy of ManagingLife)
Image: The Manage My Pain (MMP) app (Photo courtesy of ManagingLife)
A patient-centric digital health solution reduces anxiety and pain catastrophizing, two key areas that drive increased medical use and potential abuse of opioids.

Researchers at the University of Toronto (Canada), University Health Network (UHN; Toronto, Canada), and other institutions conducted a study to evaluate if a digital chronic pain management app, Manage My Pain (MMP), could enhance communication between providers and patients and help promote self-management of chronic pain and associated mental health. In all, 246 participants were enrolled in the study, with 73.6% of them using the app along with their medication, psychological therapy, and physiotherapy, and the rest serving as a control group, entering data on paper-based questionnaires.

The results showed that those who used the app rated lower anxiety at short-term follow-up and had a greater reduction in pain catastrophizing at long-term follow-up, relative to patients with pain who did not engage with the MMP app. In addition, for the rural patients treated at Iroquois Falls Family Health (IFFHT, Canada), the benefits of MMP were clearer, since they lacked a specialty pain center, and the app made the patient-clinician communication easier and more productive. The study was published on March 4, 2021, in JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth.

“Prior to Manage My Pain, our clinic was dependent on paper-based questionnaires to understand a patient's pain experience and response to treatment,” said lead author Anuj Bhatia, MD, of Toronto Western Hospital, part of UHN. “The app allows us to capture even more information than we had previously, while doing so digitally and remotely. The app also allowed us to study trends in intensity of pain and its impact on the patients' lives.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how essential it is for patients to have a role in managing healthcare conditions. Manage My Pain has helped our patients tell their story,” said senior author Hance Clarke, MD, medical director of The Pain Research Unit at UHN Toronto General Hospital. “This has empowered them to engage in discussions that enabled us to come up with patient-centered treatment plans to help manage their pain. Digital tools like Manage My Pain are a great way to empower self-management in patients, which is one of the hallmarks of successful clinical care.”

MMP, developed by ManagingLife (Toronto, Canada), is designed to help people suffering from conditions such fibromyalgia, migraines, arthritis, or back pain to understand their symptoms and provide data on their pain for their doctors, insurance companies, or government agencies. It allows user to record and describe their pain, record meaningful activities, highlight patterns and trends in chart and graph forms, track medication use and effects, and generate summary reports.

Related Links:
University of Toronto
University Health Network

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