Usability and Feasibility of an mHealth Intervention for Monitoring and Managing Pain Symptoms in Sickle Cell Disease: The Sickle Cell Disease Mobile Application to Record Symptoms via Technology (SMART)

Hemoglobin. 2015;39(3):162-8. doi: 10.3109/03630269.2015.1025141. Epub 2015 Apr 1.


Patients with sickle cell disease frequently experience severe pain events that lead to unplanned healthcare utilization. Mobile health tools (mHealth) may help prevent these events by providing remote monitoring and self-management support. This article describes the feasibility of the Sickle cell disease Mobile Application to Record symptoms via Technology (SMART), an mHealth app developed to help sickle cell disease patients monitor and manage their day-to-day symptoms. Fifteen patients recorded their pain intensity using a paper visual analog scale (VAS) and then repeated this measurement using an electronic VAS pain measure on SMART. Patients continued using SMART to record clinical symptoms, pain intensity, location and perceived severity, and treatment strategies for at least 28 days. Patient median age was 29 years (range 16-54); 60.0% were male. There was a high intraclass correlation between pain measurements entered on the paper VAS and SMART on the iPhone and the iPad We found a strong association between patient perceived pain severity and pain intensity entries using SMART (b = 1.71; p < 0.01). Daily compliance with SMART entries was a mean 75.0%, with a high of 85.7% in week 1 and low of 57.9% in week 4; however, one-third (n = 5) of the patients were 100.0% compliant even in week 4. Patients who were over age 35 or used an iPad for the study had the highest compliance rates. This study showed that SMART is a useable and feasible method for monitoring daily pain symptoms among adolescents and adults with sickle cell disease-related pain.

Keywords: Health information technology; mobile app; pain; patient reported outcomes; sickle cell disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / complications*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobile Applications
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain Management* / methods
  • Pain Measurement* / methods
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Self Report
  • Telemedicine* / methods
  • Young Adult