PainChek’s pilot projects in the Edmonton region, Canada: Revolutionizing pain in North America

Health and Life Sciences
Published On
August 23, 2023

Two senior care facilities in the Edmonton region, Canada, have recently adopted a leading-edge technology that uses AI (artificial intelligence) technology to detect pain in residents who experience cognitive and physical impairments that limit their ability to communicate their symptoms through traditional pain assessment. The PainChek® pain assessment solution was recently introduced to the Edmonton region through a couple of regional facilities St. Michael’s and Sherwood Care. These are the first pilot projects of their kind in North America and are making a significant impact on the quality of care these facilities are able to provide for their residents.

“We were excited to start pilot projects in the Edmonton region,” said James Matthias, Head of Product at PainChek, “There is a ton of innovation here with a fantastic AI ecosystem. By coming into Canada, we can better facilitate and understand the needs of the people here to assess what patients need the most. There really is a culture of innovation here, and a willingness to embrace new technologies and new ways of doing things.”

Kathy Fortunat, CEO of Sherwood Care, is also excited about the partnership. “This was far too intriguing to pass up on and it matched our priorities,” Forunat said. “It will improve the quality of life for our residents, and it will also improve the quality of work life for our staff. It’s not paper driven, it’s easier to trigger the assessment, and it’s easy to do.”

In 2012, Professor Jeff Hughes, a leader in clinical pharmacy education and practice and current Chief Scientific Officer of PainChek, started a research project with colleagues at the School of Pharmacy at Curtin University in Western Australia to find a better alternative to paper-based pain assessment tools within the aged care sector. Their research served as the basis of the formation of PainChek.

Since then, PainChek has seen major success, with over 70,000 licenses being used worldwide and recently reaching an impressive milestone by completing 3,000,000 clinical assessments worldwide. PainChek’s advanced facial recognition technology analyzes micro expressions using AI and combines this with a range of other clinical observations, to supply valuable insights into the severity of patients’ pain, enabling caregivers to quickly administer proper interventions. The app’s ease of use and efficiency are particularly helpful in the fast-paced healthcare environment, enabling staff to focus more on personalized care for residents.

Danielle Buchanan, Clinical Education and RAI Lead at Sherwood Care, highlighted the significance of the tool. “I hope this will give us some real insight into some of our residents. They’re not able to tell us how they’re feeling. We see behaviors like agitation or vocalizations, and often, it’s just the norm to treat the behavior rather than looking into what’s the cause behind it. Our staff are really great at being detectives into what’s going on, and this is another great tool to use,” Danielle shared.

“As an innovative facility, we are constantly looking for advancements in care to improve residents’ quality of life. We consider ourselves lucky that we came across PainChek® through Edmonton Global, as it represents the next level of pain assessment. As Director of Care, I consider best practice very important, and PainChek® has helped us provide best-practice pain assessment technology for our nurses and residents. Nurses now feel more confident in conducting thorough pain assessments, and families are very happy to see improvements in pain assessments and medication management.” said Tatsiana Haidukevich, Director of Care, St Michael’s Health Group.

PainChek’s technology has applications beyond healthcare facilities. Their reach extends to long-term care facilities, hospices, home care, and other care environments, revolutionizing pain assessment and enabling more personalized and targeted care for individuals facing pain-related challenges. PainChek has made a significant impact on the lives of some residents within the Edmonton region through its partnership with St. Michael’s and Sherwood Care. With worldwide recognition for its pain assessment technology, PainChek is at the forefront of leveraging AI to tackle critical healthcare challenges, supporting precise detection, assessment, and management of pain. The recent announcement of completing 3,000,000 clinical assessments worldwide reaffirms the company’s dedication to improving healthcare outcomes. PainChek’s technology offers a unique and promising solution, with the potential to ease the burden on healthcare workers, reduce improper medication prescriptions, and free up hospital beds.

Alyssa Linford