The PainTracker, an in-depth questionnaire developed by clinicians and researchers at UW Medicine’s Center for Pain Relief, is an assessment tool developed to help physicians find the best treatment plans for their patients with chronic pain.

The assessment, which can be completed online from any digital device or completed on paper, asks in-depth questions designed to provide a big-picture overview of the patient’s pain.

Questions ask about the patient’s treatment history, goals and expectations, pain intensity, pain-related disability, problems with pain medication, and quality-of-life issues such as sleep, depression, and anxiety.

The PainTracker also features a body diagram where patients can pinpoint where their pain is affecting them the most, according to a media release from University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine.

A report detailing the University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine’s development of the PainTracker was published recently in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.


“To effectively treat the patient, these questions should be asked,” says lead author Dale Langford, research assistant professor in anesthesiology and pain medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in the release.

Before each follow-up appointment, patients complete a subset of questions that yields a visual graph showing areas of improvement. The graphs also help providers show how improvement in sleep, function, and mood often occurs before reduction in pain.

“PainTracker provides a richer picture of patients’ responses to chronic pain treatments than the 0-10 pain rating scale,” states co-author Mark Sullivan, UW professor of psychiatry.

David Tauben, UW chief of the pain medicine and a co-author of the paper, adds in the release that the tool has “dramatically transformed” his ability to properly assess, treat, and manage chronic pain.

A sample of primary care providers (N=30) found an early version of PainTracker easy to use (70%) and thought that it helped patients to participate in their pain management (77%), the release continues.

[Source(s): University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine, Science Daily]