A Pilot Comparison of a Smartphone App with or without 2-Way Messaging Among Chronic Pain Patients: Who Benefits from a Pain App?

Robert N. Jamison, Dylan C. Jurcik, Robert R. Edwards, Chuan Chin Huang, Edgar L. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES:: The overall aim of this study was to determine the effect of introducing a smartphone pain app, for both Android and iPhone devices that enables chronic pain patients to assess, monitor, and communicate their status to their providers. METHODS:: This study recruited 105 chronic pain patients to use a smartphone pain app and half of the subjects (N=52) had 2-way messaging available through the app. All subjects completed baseline measures and were asked to record their progress every day for 3 months, with the opportunity to continue for 6 months. All participants were supplied a Fitbit to track daily activity. Summary line-graphs were posted to each of the patients’ electronic medical records and physicians were notified of their patient’s progress. RESULTS:: Ninety patients successfully downloaded the pain app. Average age of the participants was 47.1 (range 18-72), 63.8% were female and 32.3% reported multiple pain sites. Adequate validity and reliability was found between the daily assessments and standardized questionnaires (r=0.50) and in repeated daily measures (r=0.69 pain; r=0.83 sleep). The app was found to be easily introduced and well tolerated. Those patients assigned to the 2-way messaging condition on average tended to use the app more and submit more daily assessments (95.6 vs. 71.6 entries), but differences between groups were not significant. Pain-app satisfaction ratings overall were high. DISCUSSION:: This study highlights some of the challenges and benefits in utilizing smartphone apps to manage chronic pain patients, and provides insight into those individuals who might benefit from mHealth technology.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalClinical Journal of Pain
StateAccepted/In press - Nov 24 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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