Study Captures Ethnic Disparities in Pain Reporting

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Using uMotif eCOA/ePRO data capture app, significant ethnic disparities in pain recognition and management are revealed.

Participants identifying as South Asian, Black African, and White British used a smartphone-based digital pain self-reporting app created by uMotif to provide feedback in a University of Manchester study, with results published in the report “Exploring the Cross-cultural Acceptability of Digital Tools for Pain Self-reporting: Qualitative Study.” https://humanfactors.jmir.org/2023/1/e42177

Professor Will Dixon, Chair in Digital Epidemiology at the University of Manchester, explained, “We are hopeful this study will lead to improvements in accurate and acceptable self-reporting of pain across cultures, so people of different ethnic groups can be assured of actively contributing to better future clinical care and research about their pain, regardless of their background.”

Participants used the app to report overall pain intensity on a scale from 0-10; location-specific pain intensity and a free text pain diary.

Four main themes emerged from the interpretive analysis: perceived causes of pain; approaches and attitudes to self-treatment and management; frustration and embarrassment in communicating about pain with others; and lack of experience with formal pain assessment tools. One result from the study found that people from non-White ethnic backgrounds had different beliefs and perceptions on pain compared to those from White backgrounds, which resulted in internalizing stigma and developing a negative attitude toward medication and pain reporting.

uMotif co-founder and chief design officer Ben James said, “Our research underscores the absolute necessity of putting the patient first when designing self-reporting apps. Making the effort to understand and meet the patient where they are will enable vast improvements in healthcare, and will open clinical research to a massive and diverse patient population.”

Reference:

University of Manchester Study Using uMotif Next-Generation eCOA/ePRO Data Capture App Reveals Significant Ethnic Disparities in Pain Recognition and Management. BOSTON MA and LONDON UK – May 31, 2023.

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