Apps for Older People's Pain Self-Management: Perspectives of Primary Care and Allied Health Clinicians.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Pain Med, 2020, 21 (4), pp. 686 - 694
Issue Date:
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BACKGROUND: Chronic arthritic pain is one of the major causes of physical suffering and disability among older people. Primary care and allied health clinicians use various approaches to help their older clients better manage their arthritic pain. The growing uptake of technology among older people offers the potential for clinicians to integrate an arthritic pain app into their patients' self-management plans. This study explored the perspectives of Australian primary care and allied health clinicians regarding the use of pain self-management apps to help their older patients/clients better manage their arthritic pain. METHODS: Qualitative design using a semistructured interview approach. Interviews were conducted via telephone with primary and allied health clinicians (N = 17) across Australia. RESULTS: The overarching theme underlying participants' views on integration of apps into older people's pain self-management strategy was that this approach is an idealistic but uniquely challenging endeavor. Four subthemes emerged, namely: 1) self-management apps are a potentially useful tool but require careful consideration; 2) clinicians' involvement is crucial yet potentially onerous; 3) no single app is right for every older person with arthritic pain; and 4) patient data access is beneficial, but caution is needed for real-time data access. DISCUSSION: The predominant clinician perspective of integrating apps into their older patients/clients' pain self-management strategies was that this approach is an idealistic but uniquely challenging endeavor. Apps were seen as having potential to support various aspects of patients' self-management behaviors; however, there were notable concerns with regards to the challenges inherent in this approach for both clinicians and older users (patients/clients).
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