University of Oulu

Kheirinejad S, Alorwu A, Visuri A, Hosio S. Contrasting the Expectations and Experiences Related to Mobile Health Use for Chronic Pain: Questionnaire Study. JMIR Hum Factors 2022;9(3):e38265,

Contrasting the expectations and experiences related to mobile health use for chronic pain : questionnaire study

Saved in:
Author: Kheirinejad, Saba1; Alorwu, Andy1; Visuri, Aku1;
Organizations: 1Center for Ubiquitous Computing, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: JMIR Publications, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-06-01


Background: Chronic pain is a prolonged condition that deteriorates one’s quality of life. Treating chronic pain requires a multicomponent approach, and in many cases, there are no “silver bullet” solutions. Mobile health (mHealth) is a rapidly expanding category of solutions in digital health with proven potential in chronic pain management.

Objective: This study aims to contrast the viewpoints of 2 groups of people with chronic pain concerning mHealth: people who have adopted the use of mHealth and those who have not. We highlight the benefits of mHealth solutions for people with chronic pain and the perceived obstacles to their increased adoption. We also provide recommendations to encourage people to try mHealth solutions as part of their self-care.

Methods: The Prolific crowdsourcing platform was used to collect crowdsourced data. A prescreening questionnaire was released to determine what type of pain potential participants have and whether they are currently using mHealth solutions for chronic pain. The participants were invited based on their experience using mHealth to manage their pain. Similar questions were presented to mHealth users and nonusers. Qualitative and quantitative analyses were performed to determine the outcomes of this study.

Results: In total, 31 responses were collected from people (aged 19–63 years, mean 31.4, SD 12.1) with chronic pain who use mHealth solutions. Two-thirds (n=20, 65%) of the users identified as female and 11 (35%) as male. We matched these mHealth users with an equal number of nonusers: 31 responses from the pool of 361 participants in the prescreening questionnaire. The nonusers’ ages ranged from 18 to 58 years (mean 30.8, SD 11.09), with 15 (50%) identifying as female and 15 (50%) as male. Likert-scale questions were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon (MWW) test. Results showed that the 2 groups differed significantly on 10 (43%) of 23 questions and shared similar views in the remaining 13 (57%). The most significant differences were related to privacy and interactions with health professionals. Of the 31 mHealth users, 12 (39%) declared that using mHealth solutions has made interacting with health or social care professionals easier (vs n=22, 71%, of nonusers). The majority of the nonusers (n=26, 84%) compared with about half of the users (n=15, 48%) expressed concern about sharing their data with, for example, third parties.

Conclusions: This study investigated how mHealth is currently used in the context of chronic pain and what expectations mHealth nonusers have for mHealth as a future chronic pain management tool. Analysis revealed contrasts between mHealth use expectations and actual usage experiences, highlighting privacy concerns toward mHealth solutions. Generally, the results showed that nonusers are more concerned about data privacy and expect mHealth to facilitate interacting with health professionals. The users, in contrast, feel that such connections do not exist.

see all

Series: JMIR human factors
ISSN: 2292-9495
ISSN-E: 2292-9495
ISSN-L: 2292-9495
Volume: 9
Issue: 3
Article number: e38265
DOI: 10.2196/38265
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 217 Medical engineering
Funding: This research was connected to the GenZ strategic profiling project at the University of Oulu, Finland, supported by the Academy of Finland (project 318930) and CRITICAL (Academy of Finland Strategic Research, 335729). Part of the work was also carried out with the support of Biocenter Oulu, spearhead project ICON.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 335729
Detailed Information: 335729 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: ©Saba Kheirinejad, Andy Alorwu, Aku Visuri, Simo Hosio. Originally published in JMIR Human Factors (, 06.09.2022. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Human Factors, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.