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Integration of Mobile Health Technology in the Treatment of Chronic Pain: A Critical Review

Sundararaman, Lalitha V. MD; Edwards, Robert R. PhD; Ross, Edgar L. MD; Jamison, Robert N. PhD

Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine: July/August 2017 - Volume 42 - Issue 4 - p 488–498
doi: 10.1097/AAP.0000000000000621
Chronic and Interventional Pain: Review Article

This article provides a critical overview and best-evidence synthesis of the use of mobile health (mHealth) technology among persons with chronic pain and their health care providers and examines the future benefits and barriers of implementing mHealth technology in clinical care. We critically review articles about electronic pain diaries, pain assessment programs, text messaging, and smartphone pain apps for management of persons with pain. Also presented are findings on the utility of activity trackers and use of telehealth to deliver cognitive behavioral therapy. Finally, barriers, study gaps, and future challenges of incorporating mobile technology for chronic pain are discussed. Although the future of mHealth technology and telemedicine in clinical practice is promising, this critical review highlights the need for rigorous studies to establish an association of the use of mHealth technology with improved quality of life, functional autonomy, and decreased hospital use.

From the Pain Management Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Accepted for publication February 18, 2017.

Address correspondence to: Robert N. Jamison, PhD, Pain Management Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 (e-mail:

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Copyright © 2017 by American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine.