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1 Recommendation

Idea Smart watch to support pediatric patients living with painful chronic conditions

By Sylvia Sosa | 08 Dec, 2014

Idea submitted by: Global Organization for Maternal & Child Health: Sylvia Sosa, Valerie Kong, Board of Directors

Interactive device similar to a watch, or wearable technology, that engages the pediatric patient experiencing pain from chronic disease such as cancer and HIV/AIDS. "Pain watch" allows the child to press a button at the time pain is experienced. Button options describe their pain based on the “Wong Baker” pain faces rating scale in real time, allowing patient to engage in everyday life, while improving pain assessment by primary care clinician, enabling clinicians to manage and understand needs of the child. The pain watch should transmit on a cellular system, not Internet, to allow for use in a low-resource setting.

This device targets low resource settings where access and communication with care providers is lacking, and outreach and education to the community is scarce, in a culture where information related to their condition could otherwise be ignored by caregivers due to taboos related to disease and death. Children will learn the basic functions of the pain watch and record their pain score instantly. This product is meant to be simple and easy to use in low resource areas, with responses stored at a secure central database accessible by care team.

Tool improves:
• Pediatric patient - physician interaction
• Understanding of pediatric pain from disease
• Healthcare outcomes including prevention of escalated symptoms, and costly complications


Joaquin Blaya, PhD Advisor Replied at 9:32 AM, 13 Dec 2014

Has this watch been created? Also, what would the benefit to the child be because form what I understand of your description the main benefit is the reporting of the pain assessment to the primary care provider. I ask because I'm guessing that getting kids to wear a watch is going to be a challenge if they don't want to use it.

Marie Connelly Replied at 6:46 PM, 15 Dec 2014

This seems like a very interesting idea, Sylvia! I wonder whether others here have thoughts on whether a similar innovation might be relevant for the populations they work with? It seems like a simple device or an app for tracking pain could be beneficial to many patients and consumers.

Sylvia Sosa Replied at 8:12 PM, 15 Dec 2014

Hi Dr. Blaya,

Thank you for your question. This watch, for use with cellular transmission, is currently just an idea for patient engagement for use in places such as Ibadan, Nigeria, an area where palliative care is not well recognized or acknowledged in the community. The Palliative Care Center of University of Ibadan University College Hospital, supported by independent funds and in-kind support from the hospital, has been working with barriers to providing care. For example, families with children who have been diagnosed with chronic debilitating illnesses such as cancer and HIV/AIDS, have difficulty acknowledging the needs of their children, including pain management. It is difficult to imagine that families with very sick children avoid trips to the hospital when the child is suffering from pain, but this has been happening in this setting, where cultural biases affect the behavior of the caregiver. The Palliative Care center supports the idea of a real-time tracking system of pain to better understand the needs of the child.

We thought of the idea to give the child a voice and enable understanding of the pain they are feeling in real time. The aim is that with new knowledge of pain discovery, a clinician can:

1) Develop improved understanding of the child’s pain medication delivery needs and perhaps pinpoint the cause of the pain more specifically, and also hopefully prevent pain in the future when at all possible;

2) With the data, develop an increased understanding of the pain children are suffering according to age group and disease status for more accurate pain medication administration to the population.

With regards to whether the child will want to use the technology, that is certainly a good question. We believe that providing child-friendly training for clinicians that appeals to the target patient population would successfully encourage the child to use the device meaningfully. We would expect the technology would be fun and easy to use for the child.

We are working with the Center for Palliative Care at Ibadan University College Hospital to scale up their services and clinical support through the identification of new funding opportunities, as well as global outreach and education. We hope to alert partner organizations to the critical need for palliative care in low resource areas, and barriers to care which include cultural, language, and clinical care biases.

Lastly, in addition to a low-tech cellular device, certainly this concept could also would be great as an app on a smart watch or smart phone, with a variety of engaging technology for pediatric patients in areas where internet is more easily accessible.

This Community is Archived.

This community is no longer active as of December 2018. Thanks to those who posted here and made this information available to others visiting the site.