Facial recognition app to identify dementia pain

A new pain recognition app that assesses pain levels in people with dementia is set to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of pain.


The new app, called PainChek™ has specific application for people with dementia who have challenges with verbal communication to improve their quality of lives.


PainChek™ is a TGA cleared application that uses artificial intelligence and smartphone technology to visually analyse facial expressions, assess pain levels in real time and update medical records in the cloud.

Australian developer, ePAT Technologies has announced a partnership with dementia specialist, Dementia Support Australia (DSA), which will see 150 expert consultants across Australia using the technology with up to 5,000 people with dementia each year.


“This technology allows consultants, who have been called to assist someone with dementia, to understand the cause of a perceived severe behaviour, enabling them to quickly identify if that person is in pain,” said Associate Professor Colm Cunningham from Dementia Support Australia.


“An outcome of dementia can be a loss of ability to communicate and when that person is in pain it is sometimes displayed in frustration or behaviour that is out of character. As a result, pain for people living with dementia may often go undetected or under-treated.


"DSA estimates that more than 70% of their clients are experiencing under-treated or undiagnosed pain which impacts their quality of life significantly,” said Professor Cunningham.


A recent peer reviewed study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease showed that PainChek™ is a valid pain assessment tool for people with moderate to severe dementia, who can no longer self-report their pain.


“We believe this study is the first time a pain assessment tool using automated facial recognition technology and a smart device to assess people with dementia has been clinically validated in the residential aged care setting, ” said Mustafa Atee, ePAT’s Scientific Officer.


“It gives us great confidence that that the arrangement with DSA will be a resounding success.”


It is expected that PainChek will be fully embedded across the DSA by early 2018.


18 October 2017.