Partners Healthcare Center for Connected Health Awarded Mckesson Foundation Grant to Develop Text Messaging Program for Cancer Pain Management

Published: Oct 25, 2012

BOSTON, OCTOBER 25, 2012 -- The Center for Connected Health, a division of Partners HealthCare, today announced it has been awarded a research grant from the McKesson Foundation’s Mobilizing for Health initiative, to develop a text messaging program to improve pain management in cancer patients. The research will focus on improving clinical outcomes in pain management and decreasing hospital utilization. The goal of the Mobilizing for Health initiative is to improve health outcomes among under-served patients with chronic diseases using mobile health (mHealth) technologies that have proven successful. Since 2010, the Foundation has funded 17 mobile health research studies in the U.S. This is the second grant the Foundation has awarded to the Center.

"The Center is, again, honored to have been selected by the McKesson Foundation to be a grant recipient, and we applaud the Foundation for their support of innovative, technology-driven solutions for chronic disease management,” said Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, Director, Center for Connected Health. "We believe this will be the first-of-its-kind mobile health program to support pain management for cancer patients, incorporating evidence-based interventions with a scalable mobile platform.”

“The McKesson Foundation is dedicated to building the evidence base for mobile health solutions,” added Carrie Varoquiers, President of the McKesson Foundation. “We are excited about the potential for using text messaging to help cancer patients and providers improve pain management among an under-served population.”

The Center's randomized, controlled study will be based on a comprehensive and multi-modal approach as recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) clinical practice guidelines for treatment of adult cancer pain. Combining text messaging with interactive voice response (IVR) technology, the study will collect self-reported pain assessments to monitor a patient's pain levels and its impact on daily life, and provide tailored, multi-dimensional and supportive feedback.

One hundred twenty two lung cancer patients with moderate to severe cancer pain will be randomly assigned to receive mobile-based interventions or the standard practice of care. Participants will be followed for a total of four months. Interventions will be tailored to the individual patient's needs as determined by their ratings of pain intensity, interference in daily life, type and stage of cancer and type of pain therapy.

"Pain continues to be one of the most common and feared consequences of cancer," noted Kamal Jethwani, MD, MPH, Corporate Manager for Research and Innovation at the Center for Connected Health, and Principal Investigator for this study. "There is increasing evidence for the use of interactive voice response technologies in mobile health interventions because it is low cost, convenient, reliable and effective for symptom and treatment monitoring in chronic disease management. By combining these technologies, we hope to decrease the intensity of cancer pain and increase our patients' quality of life, while providing education and feedback to empower and enable individuals to manage their pain better."

McKesson Foundation Vision and Mission

Founded in 1943, the McKesson Foundation envisions a world where affordable, quality healthcare is available to all. The Foundation is dedicated to supporting McKesson employees' community involvement efforts and improving the health of patients through improved healthcare quality, personal health management, and lower healthcare costs. To that end, each year the McKesson Foundation contributes more than $5 million to nonprofit organizations working in our communities. For more information please visit

About the Center for Connected Health

The Center for Connected Health is creating effective, new solutions and innovative interventions to deliver quality patient care outside of the traditional medical setting. Our programs use a combination of remote-monitoring technology, sensors, and online communications and intelligence to improve patient adherence, engagement and clinical outcomes. The Center also offers expert online second opinions, virtual visits, and engages in innovative research to uncover new models for better care. The Center’s Consulting Services assist companies, providers and other organizations to learn more about entering the connected health space and to prepare products and services for integration into the healthcare delivery system. The Center for Connected Health is a division of Partners HealthCare, a Boston-based healthcare delivery system founded by its Harvard Medical School affiliated teaching institutions, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.


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