NUCare and Personal Health Informatics present a talk by Diana M. Higgins, PhD
Harnessing technology to deliver pain self-management interventions
Monday, January 23rd, 12:00 – 1:00 PM | 177 Huntington Avenue, 12th floor
Followed by a discussion with the speaker and light refreshments. Please inform the security desk that you are attending the NUCare/PHI seminar.
The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report, Relieving Pain in America, indicates that chronic pain affects approximately 300 million Americans. More recently, opioids, which have been used in the past to treat chronic pain, are criticized for contributing to an epidemic of substance use disorders, accidental overdose, and death. The IOM and CDC have suggested avoiding opioid use for chronic pain due to limited efficacy and focusing on non-pharmacologic options such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as first line treatments. CBT for chronic pain focuses on reducing pain intensity, improving functioning, and improving quality of life; however, several barriers to accessing this treatment have been identified, including limited number of trained providers, length of treatment/number of visits, travel, caregiver responsibilities, and work schedules. Using technology to deliver CBT for chronic pain may help address these barriers. Approaches such as interactive voice response (IVR), internet-based, smartphone applications, and artificial intelligence (AI) have been applied to assessing and treating chronic pain. Ongoing trials using IVR, internet, apps, and AI in veteran samples will be discussed, in addition to a discussion of challenges for research and clinical implementation in VA settings.
Dr. Diana M. Higgins is Assistant Professor, in the Department of Psychiatry, at Boston University School of Medicine. She is also the director of Pain Psychology, Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine Service/Research Service, at the VA Boston Healthcare System.
Dr. Higgins received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Maine, completed her predoctoral internship in clinical health psychology at VA Connecticut Healthcare System, and completed a fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Prior to joining the faculty at VABHS, she worked as a clinical research psychologist at VA Connecticut and held a faculty appointment at Yale School of Medicine (now adjunct), where she continues to collaborate on several research grants. Dr. Higgins has research interests in developing cognitive behavioral treatments for chronic pain and using technology to improve access to pain. Her current research involves clinical trials for pain conditions using technology (e.g., IVR, smartphone applications, Internet) to increase access to evidence-based interventions for chronic pain. One of her most recent grants examines the efficacy of an Internet-based behavioral pain management intervention for chronic low back pain.
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The NUCare Center and the Personal Health Informatics PhD program host regular interdisciplinary seminars throughout. Our speakers showcase how technology can support and enhance research in aging, self-management, health disparities, and community-based participatory research. All are welcome to join!