App Based Technology

Chronic pain puts an enormous amount of strain on individuals and care services. Pain is widely accepted as becoming chronic if its duration exceeds 12 weeks- a duration which undoubtedly brings a huge amount of discomfort and requirement for extensive interventions from healthcare professionals. Like any subject matter which requires such close attention, emphasis needs to be placed upon maximising the responsiveness and the ability to share critical information pertinent to managing that person’s pain.

As our population ages, more and more people are living with dementia, in fact, a recent study predicts that the global population of people living with dementia is due to triple by 2050. This means we will be caring for more people than ever who cannot reliably self-report their pain as their condition develops. This puts increased amounts of strain on care teams as they strive to continue to provide outstanding person-centred care for their service users. Pain management apps are an additional tool to replace outdated paper-based systems, allowing healthcare professionals to assess and manage pain at the point of care.

Benefits of App-based technology

Apps are common, in fact, the google play store hosts over 2.87 million apps for users to download. However, in some settings, such as health and social care, apps are still relatively uncommon. As digitally-enabled care continues to expand globally, it is becoming more and more common for healthcare settings to have workplace devices to increase communication and efficiency across a range of areas.

This broadens the reach that apps can have in a potential setting. For health and social care, one of the most notable benefits of app-based technology is that it can be used at the point of care, resulting in faster input of data and more thorough capturing of information.

This opens up a huge opportunity for people to benefit from pain management apps. Not only can apps support care providers in increasing efficiencies as mentioned above, but it also means healthcare professionals can reap the benefits of powerful computing systems in a handheld device like never before. An example of which being how PainChek leverages the power of facial analysis and artificial intelligence to identify and quantify pain in people who cannot reliably self-report.

Benefits to care staff

Whilst pain management apps bring huge benefits to service users, they are also a tool to empower your workforce. By providing care teams with a true point of care solution, they benefit from a direct recording of observations which means no double-handling of data or transcription is required. This brings real time saving for team members and care records are instantly updated with the latest pain assessment data, enabling a timely provision of care.

For care home staff, a pain management app gives peace of mind. There is no doubt that care teams have the best interests at heart when caring for their residents, however, that doesn’t mean mistakes can’t be made. By utilising a clinically proven medical device, like PainChek, carers are assured that they’re giving the most well-informed care to their residents and can quickly and easily demonstrate effective pain management through thorough documentation and reporting of pain.

We also know that data is power when it comes to healthcare. Historically, the data gathered from paper-based pain assessment tools have not been fully utilised. Often stored away in filing cabinets and rarely reviewed. By using a pain assessment app, care providers now have access to a full suite of reporting in a live interactive portal. Access to this data and reporting means care providers can easily assess the pain burden across a facility or even an entire care group. This allows more informed reviews of pain relief and processes to ensure residents receive the correct level of care.

Potential impact to family and loved ones

Being assured that a loved one isn’t in pain will always be the number one priority for family and loved ones. Pain is a subject we can all relate to and can appreciate the potential distress it can cause. Family members can get a meaningful sense of comfort from knowing their loved one is being regularly assessed for pain and have the assurance that no pain is going unnoticed.

A pain management app can enable that form of remote monitoring and communication between care providers and families.

How does it work?

PainChek’s unique medical device technology utilises AI and facial analysis to identify indicators of pain. The overall assessment covers 6 domains, however, the face is the most subjective and therefore leaves the most room for assessor error. By automating this process with AI, this level of subjectivity is vastly reduced.

Once the face is automatically assessed, the user is walked through 5 additional domains. These are; movement, behaviour, voice, body and activity. These domains are assessed using binary-based checklists which require the user to indicate whether an indicator of pain is present or absent. Historical paper-based assessment tools would typically ask an assessor to rate (usually from 0-3) how severe a symptom or scenario is. This again opens up a layer of subjectivity which may result in assessor bias and therefore varying outcomes for the resident.

Once all domains have been assessed, the system automatically produces a pain score and categorises it into either; no pain, mild, moderate or severe. This then enables the care teams to make the most informed decision around intervention and ongoing monitoring of pain.

Want to learn more? Contact us today.

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