Of all the vital signs, pain is the most subjective one. Ways to standardise it are half-successful (visual analog pain scale being an example.) Now researchers from Brunel University in the UK have developed a PDA-based pain recording and monitoring system:
Brunel University today unveils the World’s first computer based, three-dimensional (3D) solution for pain visualisation. The tool will help patients record their own pain, as well as providing practitioners with a way to collect information on patient experience of pain and allows greater insight into the way pain travels around the body…
The innovative pain visualisation tool is displayed via a web browser as a 3D body. Users can log pain data on an easy-to-use PDA monitor at regular intervals. Pain can be classified as: burning, aching, stabbing, pins and needles and numbness with each pain type allocated a colour, which is represented on the 3D rotating tool.
The data is collected and the pain entries can be stored and replayed over an extended period as a rotating multimedia image, providing physicians with more detailed understanding of surface pain journeys.
Using a PDA sized device, a physician now has the ability to:
Gain accurate, detailed insight into pain through the rotating 3D image with pain information captured. Additionally, the physician can use the zoom, rotate and drag functions over the 3D patient avatar for pain depth perception Select individual regions of the body to describe symptoms Observe the 3D model from various viewpoints over various time lengths Identify different types of pain as patients code pain type by colour on the PDA (burning, aching, stabbing, pins and needles and numbness).
In addition the tool will enable practitioners to save the details of patients consultations allowing records to be retained for later analysis and research.