Evidation unveils first results from 10,000-strong virtual chronic pain study

A nurse holding the hands of an elderly patient
By drawing on consenting participants from a digital registry of more than 2 million individuals through its smartphone app, Evidation was able to enroll more than 10,000 participants in nine months. (Getty/Rawpixel)

Big data company Evidation Health, a member of the latest class of the FierceMedTech Fierce 15, has released early findings from its 10,000-strong virtual clinical study focused on chronic pain—what the company describes as one of the largest longitudinal studies of its type.

After completing its initial enrollment in just nine months, the Digital Signals in Chronic Pain, or DiSCover, study aims to explore pain across medical conditions ranging from arthritis to migraines to cancer.

By drawing on consenting participants from a digital registry of more than 2 million individuals through its smartphone app, Evidation aims to collect uniform data on the day-to-day experiences of people in pain.

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The study’s participants complete daily surveys about their overall health, while the majority also supply data tracking their physical activity, sleep and heart rate. In addition, many opt to have their voice, speech, blood and genetics analyzed as well.

RELATED: FierceMedTech’s 2018 Fierce 15 | Evidation Health

In terms of topline results, Evidation found that pain had a quantifiable impact on physical function: On average, people with chronic pain were about 25% less active and moved less throughout the day.

Participants reported a wide range of treatment approaches although most, 70%, took over-the-counter pain medications. About 26% took prescription opioids, compared to the 42% that used non-opioid prescription painkillers. Another 20% employed an app for meditation or mindfulness, while 17% used medical marijuana and 7% sought out acupuncture.

RELATED: Evidation raises $30M alongside launch of new big data platform

Ultimately, Evidation hopes to build a novel data set that can be used to develop new digital biomarkers for pain and assist in treatment development.

“An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain—more than one in five adults—yet the chronic pain space remains in desperate need of innovation,” said Evidation co-founder and President Christine Lemke. “These millions of silent sufferers require breakthroughs in the way chronic pain is measured, diagnosed, and treated and we welcome collaboration in this research effort.”  

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Dubbed “Project Nightingale,” the efforts were announced amid concerns and federal inquiries into the data’s safekeeping and patient consent for use.