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  • 1 January 2014 to 30 September 2014
  • Project No: 210
  • Funding round: FR 8

When patients are receiving treatment from their GP, information on daily changes in pain and other symptoms (so-called symptom trajectories) can be very important, for example to monitor the severity of symptoms in patients with chronic conditions, obtain information regarding the possible cause of symptoms; estimate the future course of a condition, or to assess early response to treatment. However, early changes in pain and other symptoms are rarely assessed in clinical practice or research, where follow-up of patients is often planned several weeks or months after the consultation or start of treatment. If symptom trajectories are assessed, this is often carried out using paper diaries, which are cumbersome, often poorly completed, and outdated by the time it reaches the practitioner.

In a separate study we have proposed the design of a Smartphone Application (‘Pain App’) to support daily recordings of pain in people with musculoskeletal conditions. In the current study we propose to test the Pain App in patients consulting with musculoskeletal pain in primary care, where the GP offers a new prescription for stronger classes of pain medication. Patients will be instructed by a research nurse how to use the App and enter daily recordings of the severity of their pain and medication use. They will be invited for a return visit with their GP after 1 month to discuss their pain trajectories, and decide on future use of pain medication. Participants will be asked to complete questionnaires at baseline and after 1 month to test the validity of the App, and give their views on acceptability and usefulness of the App. Medical records will be checked to see if use of the Pain App changes GP prescriptions for pain medication. Our patient user group will be involved in the design of the study and interpretation of results.

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.

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