Purdue Pharmaceuticals' pain medication OxyContin has caused and is still causing problems for certain patients living with a chronic pain. The company has tried to manage the subsequent crisis but to no avail — the crisis is still looming in many parts of the U.S.
Now it is trying to use digital health technology to help people with chronic pain decrease their use of pain medication. Together with Pennsylvania's Geisinger Health System, Purdue is looking to explore how and even whether an iPhone and Apple Watch app can play a role in this effort. This mobile component will actually function as a digital add-on to Geisinger's physical pain management clinics, and will be used in a two-year-long ResearchKit-based study.
Under the deal, more than 200 patients will be given Apple Watches and iPhones to passively and actively track data ranging from physical activity and sleep to medication adherence and pain levels.
The goal is to track how pain impacts the patient's life and how medication is being used to manage it. Also, researchers are hoping that the study results will provide insights on when and how alternative methods of pain management could be integrated into the patient's care.
It is unclear when the study will start, though.