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