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How Many Ways Can You Say "It Hurts?"

By August 11, 2009

One of the complaints about pain surveys and research studies is that pain, being subjective, is never really reported the same way. However, that may be about to change.

A professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is working to develop a single measurement tool for describing pain. He and a few others are working with the National Institutes of Health on the Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS): a universal system to describe the pain experience.  Once PROMIS is finished and approved, it could be the standardized measurement by which pain is measured by doctors and scientists alike.

There are already many different types of scales that rate pain out there, but most are either reported subjectively by the person in pain, or recorded by an observer. Most of the ones commonly used in healthcare today are quick and easy to perform. The PROMIS, however, looks as though it will be a bit more involved. While I think it will be a great research tool, I wonder how user-friendly it will be in a healthcare system that values quick turnaround.

What do you think? 

February 22, 2010 at 7:16 pm
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