Kansas City,
26
February
2018
|
05:52 PM
Europe/Amsterdam

Abdominal Pain in Children: Can Smartphones and Big Data Pinpoint Triggers?

Dr. Jennifer Schurman, Clinical Psychologist at Children's Mercy
“What we are finding in practice is that when families receive this information, it makes the treatment recommendations so much more meaningful and resonant for them because they understand it in the context of their child,”
Dr. Jennifer Schurman, Clinical Psychologist at Children's Mercy

It’s well-accepted that there are a variety of triggers that contribute to abdominal pain in children, but can those triggers be monitored to inform clinical care in real time?

Jennifer Schurman, PhD, Clinical Psychologist at Children's Mercy Kansas City and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, and colleagues partnered on research exploring this important question—with encouraging results.

Dr. Schurman collaborated with gastroenterologist Craig Friesen, MD, Division Director at Children's Mercy Kansas City and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, and Christopher Cushing, PhD, a research partner at the University of Kansas.

Their study assessed the feasibility and acceptability of capturing data using ambulatory physiological monitoring (via wrist-worn accelerometer) and brief assessments of daily behavior, diet, and mood self-reported four times daily over two weeks (via mobile application on smartphone) in 30 Abdominal Pain Program patients 8 to 17 years old.

The study then evaluated the feasibility of using this “big data” to identify pain triggers for each individual patient that could inform clinical care in real time. Overall, their research supports the use of intensive longitudinal assessment to examine real-time interactions between biopsychosocial variables in this population, both at the group and individual level. Personalized reports describing unique pain triggers were able to be generated for 80 percent of study participants, with the majority (67 percent) evidencing more than one trigger associated with pain intensity. Importantly, families were generally positive about the feedback provided and indicated a strong willingness to engage in study procedures again as part of clinical care.

“What we are finding in practice is that when families receive this information, it makes the treatment recommendations so much more meaningful and resonant for them because they understand it in the context of their child,” Dr. Schurman said. “Our next step is to find a way to seamlessly monitor these patients and disseminate this information in a timely fashion to their families.”

To hear Dr. Schurman discuss their research and findings, listen to her podcast Chronic Abdominal Pain Triggers: Is Personalized Assessment Feasible?

 

Learn more about Pediatric Gastroenterology and the Pediatric Abdominal Pain Program at Children's Mercy.