Evaluating the effectiveness of and user experiences with a smartphone application for the self-management of chronic pain

E. McInnes, A. Main, T. Donnelly, A. Reid, D. Savage, D. Powell, P. McNamee, L. Caes

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstractpeer-review


Background: Chronic pain can detrimentally impact an individual’s life. Receiving appropriate self-management support is critical to manage chronic pain and increase quality of life (QoL). Chronic pain management apps, which employ self-management techniques, are widespread and have shown promising results for users in reducing pain and improving psychosocial impact of pain. However, no known research has explored user experiences with pain-management apps. Therefore, a multimethod study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness and acceptability of the FibroMapp pain-management app amongst individuals living with chronic pain.
Method: The effectiveness of FibroMapp was evaluated in 26 adults with chronic pain by comparing baseline pain intensity and QoL to levels of pain and QoL at two-week and four-week follow-up periods of using FibroMapp. Using semi-structured interviews, the user experiences with FibroMapp were explored in a subsample of 15 adults who had used the app for at least 2 weeks.
Results: There were small non-statistically significant improvements following two or four-weeks of FibroMapp use. Inductive thematic analysis of the semi-structured interviews revealed that FibroMapp was acceptable to users, with generally positive feedback on app suitability, usability and utility. Three main themes identified users’ perceived benefits of FibroMapp: heightened reflection, medication adherence, and ease of use.
Conclusions and Implications: FibroMapp may be an acceptable and beneficial app for those living with chronic pain through identifying patterns in pain as well improving medication adherence and communication with healthcare professionals. Larger studies are now warranted to explore longer-term effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S198-S199
Number of pages2
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue numberSUPPL 1
Early online date5 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2021


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