The Power of Many: How Digital Health is Making Quell More Effective and Improving Chronic Pain Care
An estimated 40 million US adults have pain every day or most days and another 87 million have pain on some days. Chronic pain is a complex biopsychosocial phenomenon. Every person’s chronic pain journey is unique. For some, the sensory experience of pain is the most significant issue. For others, the impact of pain on sleep, activity, mood, relationships, work and other aspects of daily living are most disruptive.
Despite the highly personal nature of chronic pain, we can all benefit from learning about each other’s experiences. What makes your chronic pain better and worse? What treatment approaches have worked for you? Sharing your struggles and solutions have tremendous value to others in chronic pain.
Digital health technology has the potential to take this principle of sharing to an unprecedented level. What is digital health? It is the application of modern digital technologies such as smartphones, wearable devices, cloud computing and artificial intelligence to improve health and quality of life. Quell® is a digital health device. It collects data on utilization (how often and how you use Quell), your activity levels and gait, and how you are sleeping. The Quell mobile app adds additional information such as your pain characteristics – where and how you feel pain – and your pain levels over time. If you decide to create a Quell Health Cloud® account, this data is stored in a secure cloud server.
Nearly 100 thousand Quell users have created Quell Health Cloud accounts, making it one of the largest chronic pain repositories in the world. An anonymized version is used by our scientists to study how to improve Quell therapy and, in particular, to make it most effective for each Quell user. While everyone with chronic pain is unique, the Quell Health Cloud allows us to identify patterns that optimize individual use. To achieve this, we use sophisticated statistical and data analysis techniques such as machine learning. For example, we are currently conducting large scale analyses of millions of data points from thousands of users to optimize the Quell calibration procedure. We expect that the new algorithm will identify an even more optimal stimulation level for each Quell user. It will be made available to all Quell 2.0 users in the near future through a software upgrade. More on that later this year!
Another way we use the database is to conduct scientific and clinical research that is shared with physicians and pain researchers at leading medical conferences and through peer-reviewed publications. For example, we are currently working on a study that should be published later this year which evaluates if transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) maintains its effectiveness in elderly individuals with chronic pain. Spoiler alert – Quell may be even more effective in older adults as compared to younger adults. Visit our website to learn about some of the interesting research we are conducting.
So, while it is true that chronic pain is a unique and personal experience, the collection and analysis of relevant data can bring benefit to each Quell user and more broadly to the chronic pain community. We hope that you will join us in this effort by creating a Quell Health Cloud account and contributing your journey. We believe that through the Power of Many, we can improve the lives of all people with chronic pain.
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