Feasibility and acceptability to use a smartphone-based manikin for daily longitudinal self-reporting of chronic pain

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As management of chronic pain continues to be suboptimal, there is a need for tools that support frequent, longitudinal pain self-reporting to improve our understanding of pain. This study aimed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of daily pain self-reporting using a smartphone-based pain manikin.

For this prospective feasibility study, we recruited adults with lived experience of painful musculoskeletal condition. They were asked to complete daily pain self-reports via an app for 30 days. We assessed feasibility by calculating pain report completion levels, and investigated differences in completion levels between subgroups. We assessed acceptability via an end-of-study questionnaire, which we analysed descriptively.

Of the 104 participants, the majority were female (n = 87; 84%), aged 45-64 (n = 59; 57%), and of white ethnic background (n = 89; 86%). The mean completion levels was 21 (± 7.7) pain self-reports. People who were not working (odds ratio (OR) = 1.84; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.52-2.23) were more likely, and people living in less deprived areas (OR = 0.77; 95% CI, 0.62-0.97) and of non-white ethnicity (OR = 0.45; 95% CI, 0.36-0.57) were less likely to complete pain self-reports than their employed, more deprived and white counterparts, respectively. Of the 96 participants completing the end-of-study questionnaire, almost all participants agreed that it was easy to complete a pain drawing (n = 89; 93%).

It is feasible and acceptable to self–report pain using a smartphone–based manikin over a month. For its wider adoption for pain self–reporting, the feasibility and acceptability should be further explored among people with diverse socio–economic and ethnic backgrounds.

With thanks to contributing authors: Syed Mustafa Ali, Darryl Bourke, Ramiro D Bravo Santisteban, Alessandro Chiarotto, Jill Firth, Ben James, William G Dixon.