Projects per year
Smartphone applications (or apps) are becoming increasingly popular. The lack of regulation or guidance for health-related apps means that the validity and reliability of their content is unknown. We have conducted a review of available apps relating to the generic condition of pain. The official application stores for five major smartphone platforms were searched: iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Nokia/Symbian and Windows Mobile. Apps were included if they reported a focus on pain education, management or relief, and were not solely aimed at health-care professionals (HCPs). A total of 111 apps met the inclusion criteria. The majority of apps reviewed claimed some information provision or electronic manual component. Diary tracking of pain variables was also a common feature. There was a low level of stated HCP involvement in app development and content. Despite an increasing number of apps being released, the frequency of HCP involvement is not increasing. Pain apps appear to be able to promise pain relief without any concern for the effectiveness of the product, or for possible adverse effects of product use. In a population often desperate for a solution to distressing and debilitating pain conditions, there is considerable risk of individuals being misled.