Pain Care wins award

Health 2.0 announced today that Ringful Health’s Pain Care application has won the “Project HealthDesign” developer challenge sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and California HealthCare Foundation. We are honored to win this national challenge!

The winning application is a collaborative effort between Ringful Health, Dr. Vishal Kancherla of the North Austin Medical Center, and the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation. By having practicing pain management physician and patient safety experts on the team, we have developed an application that benefits patients and physicians alike.

An early version of the Pain Care application is already available on the iPhone App Store. An update and the Android version of the app will soon follow next week.

Pain Care is a consumer mobile application that helps chronic pain patients to better manage their symptoms, medications, and better communicate with their physicians. It is based on one of the video scenarios in Project HealthDesign. Building on the HealthDesign story board, we work with pain management specialist Dr. Vishal Kancherla to enhance the design to include decision support analytics that are integral to physician’s workflows.

So, why do we choose pain management? According to the National Institutes of Health, pain is one of our most important national health problems, costing the American public more than $100 billion each year in health care, compensation and litigation. Pain management is also plagued by substance abuse, overdosing, and medical errors. Yet, a recent study (1) shows that many patients receive insufficient pain management. There is clearly something wrong here, but what is it? Can technology help?

Well, as it turns out, pain management is one of the therapeutic areas that really need personalized medicine. According to a study (2), today’s prescription pain medications are only 80% effective. People have different lifestyles, environments, and even genetic makeups. The one-size-fit-all solution does not work well for pain treatments.

In our view, a key aspect of a better and more cost effective pain management solution is to provide better information for physicians and patients to help personalize the treatment options for the most efficacy. That is exactly what our Pain Care application does.

At its core, the Pain Care application is an electronic pain journal for patients. Pain journals are well established tools to help patients manage chronic pain. Many studies have shown that electronic journals far outperform paper journals in both response rate and accuracy (3). In the pain care application, the patient report pain episodes, triggers, and medications. It then correlates all those data to give the patient insight into exactly what causes the pain and what medication / therapy is effective.

With PHR integration, the patient can share data with physicians. Our application provides an automatic natural language summary of the patient history together with analytics charts — they are all designed to fit into pain specialists’ existing decision making workflow, and make it easier for the doctors to come up with personalized treatment options.

We look forward to your feedback. If you are a healthcare provider or insurer in the pain management space, we’d also love to explore opportunities for us to work together!


1. American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (2008, September 10). Many Cancer Patients Receive Insufficient Pain Management Therapy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 9, 2010, from

2. Brian B. Spear, Margo Heath-Chiozzi and Jeffrey Huff. Clinical application of pharmacogenetics. Trends in Molecular Medicine Volume 7, Issue 5, 1 May 2001, Pages 201-204

3. Tonya M Palermo, Duaré Valenzuela, Paul P Stork. A randomized trial of electronic versus paper pain diaries in children: impact on compliance, accuracy, and acceptability. Pain. Vol 107, Issue 3, Pages 213-219 (February 2004)


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