App to reveal unspoken pain in kids

Having helped pain analysis among Australia’s non-verbal adults, attention is now focused on unlocking the often mysterious symptoms of sick children by using a facial recognition device to provide a clearer diagnosis.

The app from PainChek uses network-based facial recognition technology to detect even the smallest change in facial expression and translating it into pain detection and analysis.

It is specifically designed for use with babies and non-verbal infants unable to explain their symptoms and pain to medical staff.

The app is similar to a device applicable to non-speaking adult patients suffering from degenerative ailments like dementia and Alzheimer’s which is being used nationally in nearly 100 aged care units.

Australia’s biggest child health research organisation, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, is taking part in a trial of the app to determine its value to infant patients.

The study will involve 100 infants already scheduled for painful medical procedures.

Diagnosing pain in infants unable to communicate the area causing their distress or its severity, is a recurring medical and emotional problem in hospitals with staff frustrated by difficulties pin-pointing the problem.

If it proves its worth, the app will bring the benefits of better results for patients and greater accuracy in pain diagnosis which will aid further research into children’s ailments Hopefully a successful trial will pave the way for widespread use of the app and more specifically pin point the reason for an infants’ pain and reduce the risks of misdiagnosis through lack of information.