University of Melbourne

University of Melbourne

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Melbourne University’s Doctor Arthur Stabolidis originally approached us to design and build an APP for chronic pain sufferers. As part of a thesis, a series of thesis which was to develop and pilot-test a technology-based CBT intervention for women experiencing CPP utilising a co-design approach. In the first phase of this project, out-patients and clinicians from the CPP Clinic of the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne (Australia) took part in a series of focus groups and interviews. This provided a rich understanding of the condition and helped determine the suitability of a technology-based CBT intervention for women with CPP. The data from this phase were then used to create a set of design specifications which informed the development of a smartphone app, appEase.

The smart-phone intervention delivered a 28-day CBT intervention involving mindfulness relaxation, cognitive restructuring, and pain education which women experiencing CPP would use daily. The final phase of the project involved pilot-testing appEase.

The co-design methodologies utilised produced some useful insights into how women engaged with the therapy, and what mechanisms may have led to favourable outcomes. Interviews with participants during and after the pilot study confirmed that appEase was engaging, simple to use, and provided helpful tools and strategies for managing CPP. Furthermore, some participants reported that they felt a therapeutic relationship between themselves and the intervention. These results suggest that a self-administered technology-based CBT intervention may be suitable for women experiencing CPP, and could play a role in helping them manage their pain.

This project is the first to apply co-design methodologies to the treatment of CPP in women. Furthermore, the app created, appEase, is the first technology-based CBT intervention developed for this population. Using co-design methodologies also yielded some rich insights into the personal experiences and complexities of CPP in women. It provided some helpful information into how intervention could be evaluated and has produced a sound empirical basis for testing the efficacy of appEase in a randomised control trial. appEase is currently in the process of being further developed for the wider community.

For further information on how we can help with your next APP project contact WebOracle

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