Digitally enabled solutions to support people living with chronic pain

My Topol fellowship problem / project:

Specialist care for chronic (also known as long term or persistent) pain is concentrated mainly in a few centres of excellence across the UK, covering only a small proportion of the population with increasing delays in accessing them. Health policy and health care research suggests that supporting people with pain much earlier, and doing so within their local communities, including non- healthcare services might offer an alternative model of care to better support the approximately 28 million adults living with chronic pain in the UK.

I aim to work with local patient advocacy groups, community partners (e.g. local leisure centres), health services (e.g. General Practice) and, voluntary services to:

  • Better understand what support specialist pain services can offer these groups and what this could look
  • Design with these groups a way to offer this support using digital or technology informed

This project will be informed by existing knowledge of how similar challenges have been addressed in other (non health) areas.

I am a registered Physiotherapist with 18 years post-registration experience. I have mainly worked in specialist pain management, most recently as an advance practice physiotherapist in a multidisciplinary team (complex pain team) delivering care to hospital inpatients with complex pain issues across specialities in the NHS. I am in the final stages of writing up my DPhil (PhD) in Primary Health Care at the University of Oxford as part of a NIHR/HEE Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship. My research is focused on understanding how self- management is understood and enacted by people living with chronic pain, and how they are supported in policy and practice using mixed qualitative methods.