05 Nov 2021

Digital Identity in Healthtech - use case for MSERV pain management platform

Contributed by Mvine Limited, a techUK member since 2018 and participant in the techUK Digital Identity Working group since the beginning. #digitalidweek

If we were stood here 25 years ago, I would be showing you the new world on a stick. Well, on a trolley actually, with the Patient Controlled Analgesic device which was a game changer a generation ago.

The PCA device delivered pain relief medicine on-demand because the patient had the clicker in their own hand and could manage their own pain better.

Fast forward to now, there is a new world – a digital world – capable of a similar shift change. Through electronic tablets like the one I’m holding in my hand here, patients can score the pain they feel and manage their own pain with remarkable results.


Here’s how it works:

On the patients own mobile phone, or on a low-cost tablet device provided to them by the hospital an app called MSERV provides a way for the patient to score the level of their own pain a frequently as they wish. They select where it hurts and how much it hurts.

This could be before or after an operation. Let’s imagine ‘our’ example patient is in an acute ward after cardiac surgery. Meet John Smith. This gentleman is 78 years old. He’s here because he has had a heart operation.

Fact: More than 75 per cent of people who attend hospital have some sort of pain.

The patient taps the screen to score their pain. This simple act engages the patient in their care in a remarkable way.

The look and feel of app itself is designed by clinical psychologists to fulfil some very specific tasks in the in hands of the patient.

First, to make it really intuitive and no need for instruction. It was essential not to place a burden on frontline staff. Patients pick it up and quickly know how to use it regardless of age or which language they speak. 

The app provides carefully designed games. These are used as methods of distraction which means patients think less about the pain the feel.

The app also delivers education through video content, specifically created for the hospital, teaching patients about their type operation. This replaces the dog-eared photocopied pages of an out-dated booklet that wards should make available.

When the patient uses the app to scores their pain, the app records that score and sends it to the pain team who work on the ward. That pain team have MSERV’s digital dashboard available to see all patients under their care. That dashboard, like the one on this screen next to me here, does a number of things. It aggregates all scores from all patients.

It shows the pathway for each patient, in this case – John Smith aged 78 years who has had cardiac surgery – who has been self-scoring the level of pain he is feeling in his chest.

We can see is was a lot worse with a high level of pain, then John felt it got a lot better, and now it is stable. His pain is higher when he is at rest than when he is on the move.

This innovation revolutionises the way Pain Teams work in a hospital. They can make clinical decisions faster and more accurately.

Fact: the under-reporting or over-reporting of pain by nursing staff is one of the most common reasons why pain management.

The Pain Team can be re-routed. They can receive alerts on the mobile devices they carry which tell them a patient is in urgent need of an intervention. Rather than waiting until their ward round is completed the Pain Team can step in to alleviate pain.

Lastly, this innovation revolutionises the way hospital administrators record events and patient satisfaction when they are discharged from hospital.

If the hospital chooses, MSERV can be integrated with the electronic patient record management system which means pain scores can be written straight into patient records.

If the patient chooses, before they go home, they can use the app to full out the patient survey. The app is a powerful tool for Quality of Recovery-15 (QOR-15), the internationally recognised standard questionnaire.  Hospital administrators are always looking for better CQUIN scores.


But we leave the best until last.

MSERV provides patients, clinicians and hospital administrators a digital approach to Acute pain management. It is the result of a 5-year research and innovation effort and it has been through clinical trials at University College London Hospital (UCLH).

The innovators say:  “One of the key aims of the solution is to help patients have a better experience during and after their stay in hospital which we believe will lead to patients requiring less opioid based medicine prescribed to them, particularly on their discharge from hospital.”


That is massive.

MSERV is currently in service evaluations by hospital in NHS England, for example at Barts Heart Centre where it is being trialled as part of their Enhanced Recovery after Cardiac Surgery (ERACS) initiative.

This British innovation in pain management has the potential to be national and worldwide.



Contributed by Mvine Limited, a techUK member since 2018 and participant in the techUK Digital Identity Working group since the beginning.


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 For more information, please contact: 

Katherine Holden

Katherine Holden

Associate Director, Data Analytics, AI and Digital ID, techUK

Katherine joined techUK in May 2018 and currently leads the Data Analytics, AI and Digital ID programme. 

Prior to techUK, Katherine worked as a Policy Advisor at the Government Digital Service (GDS) supporting the digital transformation of UK Government.

Whilst working at the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) Katherine led AMRC’s policy work on patient data, consent and opt-out.    

Katherine has a BSc degree in Biology from the University of Nottingham.

[email protected]
020 7331 2019

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