Tactile Pain Management: iPhone Application

Over the past few years I have really wanted a way to be more analytical and technological with monitoring my patients outcome assessment. I have tried everything from standard forms and progress reports to mailing out weekly spreadsheets which patients fill in and return. All of these are time-consuming. Ironically enough, often patients lose motivation as well and do not always complete or return forms properly. Through this I began to develop an iPhone application that would allow for reminders and a tactile surface to measure their daily outcomes. I am happy to announce that I used my concept for the first time as a prototype today and am very excited about the potential of the application.

This may serve as a vital tool for simple, cost-effective, and reliable outcome assessment and patient monitoring.  According to the data, outcome assessment should be valid, reliable, responsive to clinical change, and practical.  I believe this application contains these components on a fundamental level.  Most importantly it is practical.  It is simple to administer, requires little input (if any) from the practitioner.  Moreover, it allows for yes/no or quantitative type responses for the user.  Therefore, this application is time and cost efficient as well as valid, reliable, and responsive.

please note these screenshots are from the prototype and are being sharpened up at the moment.

The application will allow the patient/client to monitor the following areas on a daily basis:

  1. Pain and Soreness
  2. Energy Levels
  3. Quality of Sleep
  4. Motivation
  5. Impact on Others
  6. Willingness to Change
  7. Productivity
  8. Custom Field (Add in anything you would like here; i.e. Job Satisfaction)

The custom field also allows the individual to place a baseline on the lowest and highest values.  For instance, if we use Job Satisfaction as an example, the lowest value may be labeled as “I Hate My Job” and the highest being “I Cant Believe I Get Paid to do This!”.  It will give freedom over the labels allowing the patient to connect better with their questionnaire.

The application then stores the info and begins to chart the data over time.  This is important for a few reasons:

  1. It allows the patient to “SEE” their progress.  Any healthcare practitioner can appreciate the impact this has in demonstrating pain trends.
  2. It allows the patient to recall and reflect on their treatment over large periods of time in a matter of seconds.
  3. It allows the patient to understand flare ups and how even though they may be having a flare up, their overall trend is improving
  4. It allows the patient to monitor their own progress and give a sense of accountability

The graphical input will allow the user and practitioner to see the patients progress over the course of:

  1. One Week
  2. 6 Months
  3. 12 Months
  4. Year to Date (YTD)

Furthermore, the user is able to enter in reminders so that the alarm on the phone goes off or vibrates during the day to prompt them to do one or more of the following:

  1. Record their Levels
  2. Do their exercises/stretches
  3. Custom Field (Add in anything you would like here)

Because it is important for the patient to have great and effective communication with their personal practitioner(s) I have included a function that allows them to email the charts and data (on the spot) to their practitioner(s).  I am really excited about this because it puts the accountability in the patients hands and empowers them to understand their pain and talk about their pain in a direct and easy manner.

It will also allow the patient to upload their outcomes to Facebook as a way of showing off their improvement (or perhaps lack of).

The update pathway includes:

  1. Secure data (no patient names for security) upload to a server for pain management research
  2. Children’s version for child cancer patients
  3. Graphical Comparison (look at perhaps pain vs mood)
  4. Advanced Statistical Analysis
  5. Various Graphical Forms

This application will also be able to be branded to your clinic through our brand-the-app affiliate program.  This will allow your clinic to place all branding and information on the app (such as splash screen, about, and contacts) for sales to your patients.  You will also retain royalties from the sales of the app on iTunes or other supplying stores.

In summary, I am VERY excited about the potential of this application as there is hardly anything of its kind currently available.  Its simple, easy to use, and any patient that has an iPhone will love it.  Plus, it makes something that was bland and boring, actually fun.  The potential for research using this application is also very exciting.  This form of outcome measurement is essential in enhancing doctor-patient communication and improving goal setting and decision-making abilities.  Consider this when thinking of this application:

  1. Establishes quicker more reliable report with the doctor and patient
  2. Unmasks Ineffective Treatments believed to be Effective
  3. Improves Goal Setting and Goal Achieving (are we making our goals?)
  4. Improves Decision Making
  5. Reduces the “burden” of typical paperwork and progress reports
  6. Highly responsive
  7. Helps justify treatment outcomes to 3rd party providers

I expect this to be available in the iTunes store by the second week of October and for a very affordable price (especially when compared to the cost of a patients office visit).  I hope you share my joy in this application.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me via comments below or through my website: www.anthonyclose.com


About doctoranthony
As a spinal rehabilitation specialist with over 7 years clinical experience in the areas of - Spinal Manipulative Therapy, Active & Passive Spinal Rehabilitation, Functional Movement and Orthopedic Assessment, Strength and Conditioning Coaching, Fitness Programming, Business Development, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Consultancy - you can feel safe knowing that I understand the worry and concern surrounding spinal pain. This is why self-efficacy lies at the heart of my practice. For more info: nz.linkedin.com/in/anthonyclose

7 Responses to Tactile Pain Management: iPhone Application

  1. As a Doctor of Chiropractic i have thankfully seen the amazing results and gratitude of patients responding to care. I also see these same patients fall back into the pain later from lack of maintenance/prevention as the focus falls off their care. I believe this application will help patients to not only monitor their care but assist them in the focusing on the importance of maintaining health and wellness for life. Well done Dr Anthony Close.

    • Thanks Doctor Dawson! I am excited about it. I have been working on this project in silent for some time now so its exciting to see a concept become palpable. Thanks for your kind words, I really look up to your advice and input so it means a lot. 🙂

  2. Dr Gary Orr says:

    This is an amazing app – I have seen so many patients in my public psychiatric practice experience ongoing problems with functional pain due to lack of access to proper motivation and self empowerment. It is great to see a colleague who has been able to put together a great personal aid to maintain the goals that patients gain when they first enter a wellness cycle, but which so many people find so difficult to maintain. I hope to see this widely used. Well done and Congratulations.

    • Anthony says:

      Thank you Gary. I hope we are able to develope something to be used in the mental health sector as well. I really look forward to speaking more on this.


  3. Garry Runke says:

    Ha, that’s awesome Anthony. Can’t wait to have it on my phone. Great concept.

  4. Gary Chiro says:

    This does look like a great health app for the iphone. as you mentioned it is great to have the patient take daily responsibility for their actions and to see what is happening to them.

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