✔ Detailed questions around diagnosis. Based on purely subjective interviewing alone, these questions are likely to have a degree of accuracy for helping to recognise a potential diagnosis.
✘ Following diagnosis, all treatment options are listed ranging from exercises through to fusion surgery. There is no guidance as to why one might be recommended over another. This could potentially cause a lot of worry or anxiety for a user.
✘ Advanced version of the app is broken.
✘ The treatment options for each injury can be confusing for a user, because the most recognised treatment options are not necessarily written at the top of the screen, eg, for disc pain the first option that is mentioned is traction.
✘ Some of the opinions from the app about treatment modalities would not be widely accepted by the entire medical profession, eg, “core strength is a myth”.
✘ It is unclear when someone needs to go on to get specialist advice, or face to face input. Even a recommendation on when to use the virtual consultation as part of the author’s listings on his website would be helpful.
Date of review: October 2022 Platform reviewed: Android and Apple
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Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team. Reviewed By: Chris Lawrence, Community Physiotherapist
Last reviewed: 01 Nov 2022
Reviewer: Chris Lawrence, Community Physiotherapist Date of review: October 2022 Platform and Version: Android (1.0.18) and Apple (1.2 Build 1) Comments: The Pain Guru app is designed for individuals with lower back pain. The app helps with confirming a diagnosis, and provides information on different treatment options.
Overall, this app has the potential to be quite helpful. There are certainly challenges in New Zealand with the long delays getting in to see orthopaedic and pain management specialists. The concept of an app that could help with getting the right information, quickly, is a good one.
The diagnosis section of this app is good, and based on these questions (acknowledging the app based restrictions of this process) is likely to be fairly accurate.
The concerns at present are the way that treatment options are displayed. All treatment options are listed in a way that it is not necessarily obvious which is the right option for them to be trying.
Additionally, people with very minor episodes of back pain could become anxious reading through the different options, especially hearing about surgery.
Some of the views of different treatment options are controversial, and wouldn’t be widely endorsed by the entire medical profession.
At present, this app is an improvement on an individual googling their symptoms and trying to work out their diagnosis. This app would provide a more accurate diagnosis section, than an internet search. However, as it stands, the treatment section needs to be developed a bit further before it would be strongly recommended.
Safety concerns: There are obvious restrictions as to how accurately an app can diagnose an injury. An app cannot take into account any observation, movement, palpation, special tests or investigations that are typically included in an assessment.
As far as app-based diagnosing goes, the questioning is pretty good. However, of concern was the fact that it wasn’t clear when a user needed to be going to see a professional, based on the findings of their diagnosis.
New Zealand relevance: The app is created in NZ. There are no obvious statements around ACC or the NZ Health system.