“There’s an App for That”: An Interview with Dr. Jennifer Stinson, an M-Health Expert

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Marc Napoleone


Increased adoption of smartphone technology by the general public has opened up an exciting new means by which healthcare professionals can interact with their patients [1]. The smartphone’s unique ability to combine mobile communication and computation offers a novel modality by which physicians can deliver healthcare interventions to their patients. Thus, it is no wonder that the use of smartphones in healthcare settings (so called “m-health”) has become the focus of widespread interest amongst healthcare professionals, with many smartphone-based medical applications already in widespread use amongst physicians and patients [2].   

Leading the charge in this m-health revolution is Dr. Jennifer Stinson, a nurse clinician scientist based at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, who aims to capitalize on the popularity of smartphones among adolescents [3]. Dr. Stinson is a pioneer in the field of m-health, creating one of the first electronic pain diaries using the Palm Tungsten PDA to help adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) related pain [4]. More recently, she has created the “Pain Squad” smartphone-based app, a multiple award-winning pain measurement tool for children and adolescents with cancer [5].

I was able to speak with Dr. Stinson about her experience with m-health, her views about the future of m-health, and her advice for interested healthcare professionals and trainees who want to integrate mobile technology into their own patient care. The following is an edited version of that conversation.

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Author Biography

Marc Napoleone, University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine

MD 2016


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4) Stinson JN, Petroz GC, Tait G, et al. E-Ouch: usability testing of an electronic chronic pain diary for adolescents with arthritis. Clin J Pain. 2006; 22(3):295-305.

5) Communications at SickKids. Pain Squad Mobile App. Toronto, Ontario: The Hospital for Sick Children. 2012 May [cited 2014 Aug 13]. Available from: http://www.campaignpage.ca/sickkidsapp/.

6) Lalloo C, Jibb LA, Agarwal A, et al. “Theres’s a Pain App for That”: Review of Patient-Targeted Smartphone Applications for Pain Management. Manuscript submitted for publication.

7) Health on the Net Foundation. About HON. Geneva, Switzerland: Health on the Net Foundation; 2013 Jun 5 [cited 2014 Aug 15]. Available from: http://www.hon.ch/Global/index.html.