Technology & Chronic Pain

Pain – Excruciating, unbearable, constantly disturbing work and life, regularly raids quiet mornings and good night’s rest. Chronic pain is the boulder standing in the way of millions of Americans.

Healthcare system wasn’t quite prompt in understanding the cause and effect of chronic pain but with more focus being given to the quality of care, pain management is getting the attention and the resources it requires. New technologies and tools are being experimented to ease pain and to measure and study, in order to provide individual intervention and attention rather than a blanket approach to the problem.

One such development in this field is the pain recording app, which enables detailed recording of pain, its intensity, duration, causes etc. There are many such apps available now to track and report pain to your physician, which helps them to make a more informed decision. These apps have only scratched the surface on what information technology can do to aid pain management, but has been successful in demonstrating what such technology can do in this field. Any Pain Management tool to be successful needs to communicate with healthcare providers and must form a part of the larger system of care delivery rather than a small disconnected device.

To manage pain, pain apps and other healthcare information technology can provide the following services

1. Recording pain
2. Telemedicine
3. Timely Medication
4. Cause and Effect Relation
5. Access to Pain Management

1. Recording Pain :

The most straightforward way that we can employ the services of an app or other such mediums is to record pain. Pain is inconsistent and the doctors may be able to observe the phenomenon when it occurs or when it triggered. Recording pain helps in tracking its nature, location, trigger, and effect. This information can then be used by the provider in easing the pain.

2. Telemedicine:

Telemedicine is the use of various technologies to connect with patients and providers such as video chat, secure texting etc. Telemedicine eliminates the need for a patient to visit a pain specialist but instead gets help from them as and when needed. For primary care physicians who are pressed for time and resources telemedicine provides an alternative (and in many cases a more effective way) to prescription drugs which can have unintended side effects.

3. Timely Medication:

Healthcare IT can prove very useful in managing medication, it can help in determining a more appropriate and effective use of drugs. Apps can also set reminders when it is time to take medicines and help in tracking medication compliance.

4. Cause and Effect Relation:

To understand pain, its cause should be recorded first. Just as the effect of pain and medication, the cause and effect relationship between pain triggers will help in managing pain. If the pain is caused by an external stimulator, then this will help in identifying it. Understanding the reason for pain can help make patients active participants in managing pain rather than just delegating pain meds exploration to doctors.

5. Access to Pain Management:

Apps and telemedicine can improve patients’ access to pain management programs and necessary treatments. As of now, many people suffering from chronic pain do not have access to medication and treatment, the unavailability of specialists and the busy schedule of PCPs, and increasing cost of treatment just adds to this problem. Health IT can improve access, relatively reduce costs associated and give care.

Medicines and treatments are to help society be healthy. A healthy society is more productive and so, will add more value to everything. Healthcare information technology allows viewing an individual’s health and treatment need from a holistic perspective of both physiological and psychological health. Pain management solutions can help achieve the better outcome for patients suffering from chronic pain. Learn more about Chronic Care Management!

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