Persistent pain is a significant developmental health concern that can negatively impact all aspects of health-related quality of life. Youth and young adults who are growing up with persistent pain face additional challenges in their day-to-day life, as they have to take on more responsibility for managing their disease. However, most youth with persistent pain do not receive comprehensive the education and self-management skills training that are needed to help them improve their daily function. Smartphone-based therapies offer an opportunity to fill this gap in the market by creating a new point of healthcare delivery that is readily adopted by this population.
This project focuses on developing iCanCope, which is a comprehensive pain self-management platform (Android and iOS) designed to empower youth and help them manage and live better with their persistent pain. It helps youth:
- Better understand their condition and the way it interacts with their day-to-day routine
- Develop and practice healthy pain coping strategies
- Receive social support from their peer group
There are four key elements to the iCanCope application:
- Daily check-ins where a user tracks their symptoms and gets in-the-moment personalized tools to cope with their pain
- Goal setting to help improve function
- Evidence-based pain education that provides tools to help cope with pain in daily life
- A community where users can connect with others with the same conditions and share their experiences
Through these features, the iCanCope application aims to help youth feel empowered and independent in their pain management through improved knowledge and self-efficacy. The application also acts as a shared decision-making tool with clinicians to foster more effective patient-clinician communication.