Defining and Predicting Pain Volatility in Users of the Manage My Pain App: Analysis Using Data Mining and Machine Learning Methods.

TitleDefining and Predicting Pain Volatility in Users of the Manage My Pain App: Analysis Using Data Mining and Machine Learning Methods.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsRahman QA, Janmohamed T, Pirbaglou M, Clarke H, Ritvo P, Heffernan JM, Katz J
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Volume20
Issue11
Paginatione12001
Date Published2018 11 15
ISSN1438-8871
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Measuring and predicting pain volatility (fluctuation or variability in pain scores over time) can help improve pain management. Perceptions of pain and its consequent disabling effects are often heightened under the conditions of greater uncertainty and unpredictability associated with pain volatility.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to use data mining and machine learning methods to (1) define a new measure of pain volatility and (2) predict future pain volatility levels from users of the pain management app, Manage My Pain, based on demographic, clinical, and app use features.

METHODS: Pain volatility was defined as the mean of absolute changes between 2 consecutive self-reported pain severity scores within the observation periods. The k-means clustering algorithm was applied to users' pain volatility scores at the first and sixth month of app use to establish a threshold discriminating low from high volatility classes. Subsequently, we extracted 130 demographic, clinical, and app usage features from the first month of app use to predict these 2 volatility classes at the sixth month of app use. Prediction models were developed using 4 methods: (1) logistic regression with ridge estimators; (2) logistic regression with Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator; (3) Random Forests; and (4) Support Vector Machines. Overall prediction accuracy and accuracy for both classes were calculated to compare the performance of the prediction models. Training and testing were conducted using 5-fold cross validation. A class imbalance issue was addressed using a random subsampling of the training dataset. Users with at least five pain records in both the predictor and outcome periods (N=782 users) are included in the analysis.

RESULTS: k-means clustering algorithm was applied to pain volatility scores to establish a threshold of 1.6 to differentiate between low and high volatility classes. After validating the threshold using random subsamples, 2 classes were created: low volatility (n=611) and high volatility (n=171). In this class-imbalanced dataset, all 4 prediction models achieved 78.1% (611/782) to 79.0% (618/782) in overall accuracy. However, all models have a prediction accuracy of less than 18.7% (32/171) for the high volatility class. After addressing the class imbalance issue using random subsampling, results improved across all models for the high volatility class to greater than 59.6% (102/171). The prediction model based on Random Forests performs the best as it consistently achieves approximately 70% accuracy for both classes across 3 random subsamples.

CONCLUSIONS: We propose a novel method for measuring pain volatility. Cluster analysis was applied to divide users into subsets of low and high volatility classes. These classes were then predicted at the sixth month of app use with an acceptable degree of accuracy using machine learning methods based on the features extracted from demographic, clinical, and app use information from the first month.

DOI10.2196/12001
Alternate JournalJ. Med. Internet Res.