The Pain Project

The Pain Project

    • VIRTUAL PERSPECTIVE-TAKING TO REDUCE RACE AND SES DISPARITIES IN PAIN CARE 
      • Funding agency
        • National Institutes of Health
      • A link to the video
      • A sample image
      • VERG members who are working on this (or have worked)
        • Stevie Carnell, Heng Yao
      • Goals
        • The goal of the Pain Project is to use virtual human interviews as an intervention to reduce healthcare providers’ implicit race and socio-economic biases when making decisions about pain care.
      • Collaborators
        • IUPUI team: Dr. Adam Hirsh, Dr. Megan Miller, Dr. Nicole Hollingshead
        • UF: Dr. Michael Robinson
      • Our role as virtual agent researchers
        • We developed the virtual human interviews using our system, Virtual People Factory 2.0 (VPF2). We also created videos for use during the interviews using the life simulation game, The Sims 3. 
      • Target Audience
        • Providers who make decisions about patients’ pain management
      • Our approach
        • The goal of this project is to understand and reduce disparities in pain treatment because of doctors’ implicit biases. Previous studies have shown significant differences in the pain treatment given to Black and low socio-economic (SES) patients in comparison with White and high SES patients. This project has developed virtual human interventions as a way to understand and combat these biases. One intervention consists of videos created with the Sims that reflect different scenes of a patient’s life, focusing specifically on how back pain has affected that patient’s life. Other work to understand pain treatment biases has used videos from Unity to show different kinds of patients demonstrating pain.
      • Description of User Testing/ Evaluation
        • Each virtual human used in this project was validated using surveys to ensure they represented the demographics of interest. 
      • Results 
        • The Pain Project virtual human interviews seem to produce significant changes in providers’ treatment decisions about pain management.
      • Publications
        • Journal Publications
          • Hirsh AT, Miller MM, Hollingshead NA, Anastas T, Carnell ST, Lok BC, Chu C, Zhang Y, Robinson ME, Kroenke K, Ashburn-Nardo L. (2019).  A randomized controlled trial testing a virtual perspective-taking intervention to reduce race and SES disparities in pain care. PAIN. Editor’s Choice
        • Abstracts, Posters, and Presentations
          • Anastas, T., Miller, M., Hollingshead, N., Carnell, S., Lok, B., & Hirsh, A. (2018, September). Providers’ implicit and explicit attitudes about race and socioeconomic status influence their pain treatment recommendations. 17th World Congress on Pain, Boston, MA.
          • Clark, E., Anastas, T., Miller, M., Hollingshead, N., Carnell, S., Lok, B., & Hirsh, A. (2018, September). Compassion for patients mediates racial and socioeconomic differences in providers’ pain treatment decisions. 17th World Congress on Pain, Boston, MA.