If you’ve ever been to a physician, then you’ve probably had to communicate your physical pain to a doctor by using a scale of 1 to 10. What’s the difference between a three and four, or a six and seven? No one really knows. More importantly, the scale doesn’t tell physicians what kind of pain you’re actually experiencing, so then you have to further verbally communicate your pain to a medical provider.
“Many pain patients will say their pain can’t be measured on the 0-to-10 scale and that it is too challenging to describe their pain using words,” says Charles Jonassaint, Ph.D., M.H.Sc., assistant professor of medicine, social work and clinical and translational science. “As a result, their pain is misunderstood and patients in pain may be prescribed more opioids without always knowing whether they are needed or if they are working.”
This is where animation comes into play. A group of researchers at University of Pittsburgh and UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) are working to develop a new way that patients can describe the quality and intensity of their pain to physicians by generating animation. The animation is created through an app called Painimation. Results of a clinical trial were published this week in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.