SMS pain diary: a method for real-time data capture of recurrent pain in childhood

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Abstract Objectives: 

To capture recurrent pain in children aged 9–15 years reported by short message service (SMS) and to test the compliance of such reporting in a pilot study. Methods: 

After instructions, 15 children reported their pain six times a day on SMS for a week and the compatibility of the reporting was evaluated. The pain was expressed and reported on three variables: intensity captured using a numeric rating scale (NRS-11), duration in minutes and a verbal pain-related disability scale with six alternatives (0–5). The validity of this scale was tested in 37 children, and the reliability in a test–retest procedure in 20 children. Results: 

Good compliance reporting the three variables intensity and duration of pain as well as pain-related disability on SMS was indicated. Support for construct validity and reliability of the verbal instrument for pain-related disability was achieved. Conclusion: 

The study supports the hypothesis that pain experience expressed as intensity, duration and pain-related disability can be captured in real time by SMS in an inexpensive and compliant way in children aged 9–15 years. Validity and reliability was indicated for the constructed verbal pain-related disability scale. Further studies are needed to further confirm these findings.

Keywords: Cell phone; Electronic diary; Pain; Pain-related disability; Real time; SMS

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2010

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