Researchers Discover Insights from Chronic Pain Sufferers Who Use the "Manage My Pain" App

July 18, 2017
Researchers used data mining techniques to discover patterns of user engagement with the Manage My Pain app
Unique insights into chronic pain sufferers who engage with the pain management app, Manage My Pain, were published in a JMIR mHealth and uHealth study by York University researchers. The app's developer, ManagingLife, collaborated with experts in pain, mental health, and data science who analyzed patterns of engagement using novel data mining techniques not typically used in healthcare.

Researchers used data mining techniques to discover patterns of user engagement with the Manage My Pain app Manage My Pain is an mHealth app created for the millions of people with chronic pain who want to better understand their conditions and are looking to better communicate with their doctors. The study analyzed data from more than 24,000 users of the app who recorded more than half a million data points. This contrasts with most studies in the field of pain that rarely involve more than one thousand participants. The study reported that, although most users of the app reported being female, male users were more likely to be highly engaged. Similarly, the most engaged users self-reported a higher number of pain conditions, a higher number of current medications, and a higher incidence of opioid usage.

The researchers believe the data and this approach to analysis could help shape future treatments of pain. "App users can reveal previously unexplored patterns in pain and associated factors and can help us develop new ways to engage complex pain patients," says Professor Joel Katz, Canada Research Chair in Health Psychology at York U and one of the lead authors of the study. Katz went on to say, "Since males are typically less actively engaged in their own healthcare than females, and given that the proportion of males was significantly greater than that of females in the highly engaged cluster, the Manage My Pain app may be one way to increase male uptake of healthcare behaviors regarding pain."

The analysis involved three groups of York U researchers: Katz's Human Pain Mechanisms Lab, Prof Jane Heffernan's Centre for Disease Modeling, and Prof Paul Ritvo's Health Behaviour Change Lab.

About ManagingLife
ManagingLife is a privately held Corporation based in Toronto, Canada that uses patient engagement and analytics to help chronic pain sufferers and practitioners learn more about their condition and better communicate with each other. With its award-winning app, Manage My Pain, ManagingLife also works with institutions such as hospitals, clinical trials, and insurers to help healthcare professionals better measure and manage their patients' pain and medications.

About York University
Founded in 1959, York University is the 3rd largest university in Canada. Through cross-discipline programming, innovative course design, diverse experiential learning and a supportive community environment, York University's students get the education they need to have big ideas and endless career opportunities. York U's 11 faculties and 25 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 200+ leading universities worldwide. York U's community is strong − 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 295,000 alumni.

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