Yesterday, I received an email from WebMD with news of a new app. It caught me eye, so I decided to look a little more into it.
The app is called Pain Coach, with the subtitle “A Better Day Starts Here.” For anyone that deals with any type of chronic pain, that is definitely a tempting proposition.
When a person goes to the doctor for any type of persistent pain, the doctor is ineveitably going to ask “So, where does it hurt?” Having been in this position myself, I usually draw a blank and give a very generic area — which could indicate a whole variety of problems. This app would be great for a doctor to “prescribe” to a patient who might need a little help pinpointing exactly where the pain is, what the triggers are, and how to describe that pain to the doctor. It would definitely make doctor’s appointments go smoother, in my opinion.
So let’s take a look at what this app actually has to offer.
First off, it is only available for the iPhone — sorry Android users (myself included!) The email I got listed the following features:
- Doctor-approved information customized to your condition
- A personal journal that tracks your pain level on scale of 1 to 10, as well as your symptoms, treatments, and triggers. Email a PDF report of your pain history in time for your next doctor visit.
- Goals to help you manage your pain.
- Hundreds of daily tips to help you achieve your goals
This shows a basic summary of a particular day. There is definitely a lot of detail, probably more than most doctors really would care about…but it seems pretty easy to track.
This looks like the pain identification center…once again, it has lots of details. I think pinpointing specific times and dates can really show specific triggers for pain.
And finally, here’s a picture of a graph that can be created to map pain over a certain period of time. I imagine this might be something a physician would be interested in.
As with most mobile health apps, this is a great idea . . . if people actually remember to use it beyond the first few days after the initial download. I’ve been thinking a lot about a post over at Happy EMR Doctor about patient engagement. What is it going to take for patients to actually use medical apps on a long term basis? Either way, I think this is a neat app, and I hope it becomes available for Android phones soon!
This app is absolutely free, and can be downloaded for free here from the iTunes app store.