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Painimation Webpage

Both items were written in 2019 as draft website content for Painimation, a pain-assessment tool under development by Pitt Assistant Professor of Medicine Charles Jonassaint, PhD, MHS, and others.

Pain is the No. 1 reason for medical visits in the United States. Soreness, aches, tenderness, discomfort—you name it— send literally millions of patients to the doctor and hospital every year.

These patients’ types and levels of pain differ dramatically. Yet we ask almost every one of them to assess their pain on the same 0-10 scale that has been used for decades—and has been called inadequate by physicians and patients alike.

Painimation has the capability to change this.

An animation-based pain measure, Painimation is easy to use, and it removes barriers of age, culture, language and literacy level in pain assessment. Preliminary data suggests that the tool improves patients’ ability to communicate their pain and that it may be equally as effective for discriminating pain types as other validated pain scales (Jonassaint et al. 2018 JMIR)

We are currently redesigning Painimation for use on patients’ mobile phones so that it can track pain intensity, quality and location over time. The goal is to determine if Painimation can detect and, ultimately, predict changes in pain.

In addition, the Painimation mobile device is right in line with what drug companies and the FDA have told us they need: better tools to determine how different drugs and management plans affect health outcomes.

We have received funding from the National Institutes Health (National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute), the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical Science Translational Institute, and the National Science Foundation.


The Painimation Equation

Better Description = Better Medicine

What if your patients could describe their pain like this:

“There is a sharp pain in my lower back—like an electric shock— and then it burns and tingles as it travels down the back of my right leg.”

The Painimation mobile device helps patients do just that: provide detailed descriptions of their pain, its intensity and location.

The ramifications of that are huge.

For healthcare providers, Painimation could help improve patient diagnoses and pain management.

For patients, it could empower them—giving them confidence that their physician has heard them, paving the way to a better patient-physician relationship.

For pharmaceutical makers, Painimation could offer anonymized data that would indicate which medications work best with specific types of pain.

The potential of this mobile device and app is unlimited.

Painimation: precision medicine at your fingertips.


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