Digital Health and Pain Policy

The inclusion of pain as a disease under the World Health Organization (WHO) 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) was a key development.

In January 2021, SIP responded to the European Commission’s Health Data Space Roadmap. SIP called for the implementation of the ICD-11 definition of pain throughout healthcare systems to improve the analysis of health systems performance, and to provide the research community with data to facilitate further clinical research. According to experts in the field, the implementation of ICD-11, ICHI and ICF by all Member States, should be ensured, as their combined use widens the use of recording patient data, and allows for greater detail when recording symptoms. This will contribute to the development and digitalisation of healthcare services, which are complementary and can support each other, and will ensure patients’ needs and rights are rightly covered.

The creation of a European Health Data Space will ensure the appropriate use, access, and sharing of health data for healthcare delivery purposes, and will allow the use of data for research, innovation, and policymaking.

On 31st March 2022, SIP hosted a multi-stakeholder virtual event entitled “How can digitalising health services reduce the societal impact of pain?” to discuss the recommendations from its Position Paper on Digital Health: Pain Assessment and Quality Indicators.


SIP Position Paper on Digital Health: Pain Assessment and Quality Indicators

Please download the SIP Position Paper on Digital Health: Pain Assessment and Quality Indicators here.

Recommendations: SIP Position Paper on Digital Health: Pain Assessment and Quality Indicators

SIP calls upon EU and national policymakers to:

  • Ensure effective implementation of ICD-11 by all Member States to contribute to the digitalisation of healthcare services, as these are complementary and can support each other.
  • Support the development and implementation of patient and clinician-friendly, interoperable, and validated digital technologies for pain assessment.
  • Establish pain and pain-related functioning as a quality indicator in the development of instruments of pain assessment via the use of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs).
  • Enhance the availability of, and the equal access to hybrid (face-to-face and digital) formats of pain management.
  • Enable the use of interoperable, standardised, secure digital health data registries, repositories, and records to facilitate exchange of cross border pain assessment data.
  • Allocate adequate funding to the development of translational AI and ML research in pain and pain-related functioning.
  • Allocate adequate funding and foster the infrastructure for digital and health literacy for all stakeholders, including clinicians and patients.
  • Ensure the subjective experience of pain remains an integral part of the assessment and management of pain.
  • Promote the exchange of best practices in digital pain and pain-related functioning assessment and management in Europe in an open format, and establish standards to ensure quality, reliable and evidence-based practices and information are shared to all.