Patterns of User Engagement With the Mobile App, Manage My Pain: Results of a Data Mining Investigation.

TitlePatterns of User Engagement With the Mobile App, Manage My Pain: Results of a Data Mining Investigation.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsRahman QA, Janmohamed T, Pirbaglou M, Ritvo P, Heffernan JM, Clarke H, Katz J
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Date Published2017 Jul 12

BACKGROUND: Pain is one of the most prevalent health-related concerns and is among the top 3 most common reasons for seeking medical help. Scientific publications of data collected from pain tracking and monitoring apps are important to help consumers and healthcare professionals select the right app for their use.

OBJECTIVE: The main objectives of this paper were to (1) discover user engagement patterns of the pain management app, Manage My Pain, using data mining methods; and (2) identify the association between several attributes characterizing individual users and their levels of engagement.

METHODS: User engagement was defined by 2 key features of the app: longevity (number of days between the first and last pain record) and number of records. Users were divided into 5 user engagement clusters employing the k-means clustering algorithm. Each cluster was characterized by 6 attributes: gender, age, number of pain conditions, number of medications, pain severity, and opioid use. Z tests and chi-square tests were used for analyzing categorical attributes. Effects of gender and cluster on numerical attributes were analyzed using 2-way analysis of variances (ANOVAs) followed up by pairwise comparisons using Tukey honest significant difference (HSD).

RESULTS: The clustering process produced 5 clusters representing different levels of user engagement. The proportion of males and females was significantly different in 4 of the 5 clusters (all P ≤.03). The proportion of males was higher than females in users with relatively high longevity. Mean ages of users in 2 clusters with high longevity were higher than users from other 3 clusters (all P <.001). Overall, males were significantly older than females (P <.001). Across clusters, females reported more pain conditions than males (all P <.001). Users from highly engaged clusters reported taking more medication than less engaged users (all P <.001). Females reported taking a greater number of medications than males (P =.04). In 4 of 5 clusters, the percentage of males taking an opioid was significantly greater (all P ≤.05) than that of females. The proportion of males with mild pain was significantly higher than that of females in 3 clusters (all P ≤.008).

CONCLUSIONS: Although most users of the app reported being female, male users were more likely to be highly engaged in the app. Users in the most engaged clusters self-reported a higher number of pain conditions, a higher number of current medications, and a higher incidence of opioid usage. The high engagement by males in these clusters does not appear to be driven by pain severity which may, in part, be the case for females. Use of a mobile pain app may be relatively more attractive to highly-engaged males than highly-engaged females, and to those with relatively more complex chronic pain problems.

Alternate JournalJMIR Mhealth Uhealth