What is it about?

This systematic review provides evaluation of pain management mHealth apps for evidence-based behavior change techniques and app quality in an effort to inform recommendations for providers and patients. Behavior change techniques that were assessed included: 1) information about relationship between behavior and health, 2) consequences associated with lack of behavior change, 3) information about how to perform specific behaviors, 4) goal setting related to behavior change, 5) detailed goal planning, practice and mastery of a self-management technique, 6) self-monitoring to address successful behavior change and barriers, 7) social support and 8) stress management/relaxation training. Each app that was evaluated included between 1 and 8 pain management-specific BCTs. Overall quality of apps ranged from fair to excellent and supported inclusion of evidence-based self-management strategies.

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Why is it important?

There are a variety of mHealth apps commercially available with the intention to promote self-management skills for pain. However, there is currently a lack of guidance for providers and patients regarding which apps to utilize. This initial evaluation demonstrates that these apps include similar components that have been effective in face-to-face intervention. The ability to provide similar interventions via mHealth apps allows for broader access and aids in dissemination efforts of pain management techniques. Continued investigation of these apps using rigorous methodology will help inform which apps are most effective in promoting self-management of pain and help increase availability of pain management resources.

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This page is a summary of: Systematic evaluation of commercially available pain management apps examining behavior change techniques, Pain, September 2020, Wolters Kluwer Health,
DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002090.
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