The Integration of Technology into Treatment Programs to Aid in the Reduction of Chronic Pain

Chad Eckard, Caitlyn Asbury, Brandon Bolduc, Chelsea Camerlengo, Julia Gotthardt, Lauren Healy, Laura Waialae, Ceirra Zeigler, Jennifer Childers and Joseph Horzempa

In the United States, roughly $600 billion is spent on pain management – usually in the form of addictive opioid drugs. Due to the dangers associated with long-term opiate-based pain medication, the development of additional strategies for chronic pain management is warranted. The advent of smartphones and associated technology has provided healthcare providers with a unique opportunity to provide pain management support. This review summarizes of the use of technology to supplement chronic pain management regimens. Smartphone and internetbased applications that employ online journals facilitate improved communication between patient and clinician and allow for more personalized care and improved pain management. For instance, the e-Ouch application provides a platform for pain logs as well as feedback and coaching to patients via Twitter postings and blogs. Other applications provide online resources and blogs to improve patient education, which has shown to relieve patient symptoms through lifestyle modification. Internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on the psychological coping mechanisms. The application of technology and smartphone apps toward pain management shows promise toward reducing the use of opioids in pain management, but has yet to be incorporated as a standard practice. More robust studies critically evaluating the efficacy of these technology-based therapies need to be conducted before standardization and insurance coverage can become reality.