Unlikely Partners in Pain App Study



Last updated:

Purdue Pharma and a Pennsylvania-based healthcare provider have announced the enrollment of their first patient in a joint study of wearable health technology. As many as 240 people will eventually be enrolled in the two-year study, which is designed to see if “wearables” can help manage chronic pain.

It’s an unlikely partnership between Purdue Pharma, which faces multiple lawsuits over its promotion of the painkiller OxyContin, and the Geisinger Health System, which is actively trying to discourage the use of opioid pain medication. Geisinger provides healthcare to over 3 million people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Geisinger patients enrolled in the study will get an Apple Watch and iPhone equipped with pain apps that will measure their physical activity, self-reported pain, disability, sleep quality, depression, medication use and heart rate.

Patients who report pain will be prompted to try non-pharmaceutical alternative therapies, such as stretching, mindfulness and thermotherapy.

“The goal of this technology is to improve patient function and quality of life while reducing the need for analgesic medications. It provides objective measures of numerous aspects of pain, function and treatment effectiveness so that information can be gathered for…