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Department of Psychology  Clinical Psychology with Focus on Psychotherapy Research

Digital Visual Information Therapy for Orofacial Pain (DigiVisIn)

Project coordination: Dr. Markus Wolf

Efficient communication of health-related information between doctors and their patients plays a crucial role in the management of chronic pain. Information therapy is a means to educate patients about their illness and health maintenance in order to improve their self-management and informed decision making based on a profound understanding of their individual health condition. Chronic orofacial pain is a multi-causal condition which is often associated with psychosocial stressors. Vice versa, chronic pain can increase mental distress and even trigger the onset of depressive symptoms. To prevent negative developments, the patient-centered provision of information about the complex causal relationships is key for sustained therapy effects. In usual clinical practice, information therapy is delivered as a single-session face-to-face consultation using verbal explanations and hand-drawn sketches to illustrate biological mechanisms and bio-psychosocial interactions. Digital tools have the potential to enhance and support traditional information therapy with interactive images and dynamic information that can be tailored to the individual’s health condition. This helps to provide each patient with a personalized model for a more effective and sustainable long-term pain self-management.

The aims of the project are to develop, implement and evaluate such an interactive digital tool (DigiVisIn) to support patient-centered information therapy in patients with chronic orofacial pain. DigiVisIn is a multi-module mobile tool that allows interactive visualization of expert knowledge using biological illustrations and graphical representations which can be tailored interactively to the patient’s individual health condition. Complex contents of the tool are structured in a way that make it easy to be delivered on a high-quality level by health professionals with only few training, for instance by students during medical training. The DigiVisIn prototype was developed with support of the UZH Digital Society Initiative in a multi-disciplinary collaboration of the Department of Psychology, the Center for Dental Medicine (ZZM), and the Department of Informatics (IFI) at the University of Zurich. Currently, the clinical feasibility, usability and acceptability of the prototype is being evaluated in a field pilot study at the ZZM.

Project duration: 2019 - 2020

Project funding: Digital Society Initiative (UZH DSI)

Project partners:

  • PD Dr. Dr. Dominik Ettlin; University of Zurich, Center for Dental Medicine (ZZM)
  • MSc Alice Tuong; Dr. Mateusz Dolata; Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schwabe; University of Zurich, Department of Informatics (IFI)

Weiterführende Informationen