Electronic (eHealth) and mobile (mHealth) platforms may provide some benefits in patients with chronic non-cancer pain, according to the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis presented at the 2019 American Academy of Pain Medicine annual meeting held March 6-10 in Denver, Colorado.

A total of 4 electronic databases were searched for randomized controlled trials in which ambulatory adults with chronic non-cancer pain were treated with eHealth or mHealth technology without consulting clinicians. Pain intensity — evaluated with a numeric rating scale (NRS) — was the primary outcome in this analysis and was examined in the short- (≤3 months), intermediate- (4-6 months), and long-term (≥7 months).

The 17 randomized controlled studies included in the analysis comprised a total of 2496 patients with chronic non-cancer pain. In 7 studies (n=881) pain intensity was assessed in the short-term and the treatment effect had a standardized mean difference (SMD) of – 0.20 (95% CI, –0.35 to –0.05; P =.01; heterogeneity I2 = 22%, P =.26). In the 3 studies in which pain intensity was evaluated in the intermediate-term (n=533), the treatment effect had a SMD of –0.18 (95% CI, –0.35 to –0.01; P =.04; heterogeneity I2 = 0%, P =.50). In the 2 studies (n=354) in which pain intensity was evaluated in the long-term, there was no noticeable treatment effect.

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“Clinicians should consider recommendation of these technologies to their patients,” concluded the study authors.

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Reference

Moman RN, Dvorkin JP, Pollard EM, Wanderman RL, Hooten WM. Electronic and mobile health applications improve pain intensity: A systematic review and meta- analysis of unguided electronic and mobile health technologies for patients with chronic pain. Presented at: the 2019 American Academy of Pain Medicine annual meeting; March 6–10, 2019; Denver, Colorado. Abstract 235.