Michael Brock

Michael Brock

Master's Thesis

Refinement, Feasibility and Evaluation of an eHealth Application for Opioid Management in Palliative Care


Michael Nissen (M. Sc.), Madeleine Flaucher (M. Sc.), Prof. Dr. Björn Eskofier, Dr. med. Tobias Steigleder, Dr.-Ing. Heike Leutheuser


02 / 2023 – 07 / 2023


The aim of palliative care is to improve the life and its ending of patients with life-threatening diseases and their families [1]. The demand for palliative care is increasing due to demographic changes, an increasing number of deadly chronic diseases and increasing age [2]. One of its main tasks is treating pain, in which palliative patients are reported to experience problems regarding their opioid dosage administration [3, 4].

eHealth applications offer several potentials for patients and their relatives: i) an integration in one’s treatment, ii) a qualitative and close-meshed care, iii) a precise observation of medication impact with little involved effort [2].

Related work [5] raises several open questions: How to handle a bidirectional flow of information between patients and their practitioners, how to design personalised feedback, how to provide relevant guidance and how to measure the effectiveness of pain management in self-managed patients.

This thesis aims to develop, implement and evaluate an eHealth smartphone application for palliative care that includes caregivers, patients and relatives in the area of opioid management. In the light of that objective, this work consists of the following parts:

  • Development of a smartphone application for Android and iOS with access for patients, relatives and caregivers. The application should cover the following functionalities: Answering questionnaires (Sources: Minimal documentation system (MIDOS), Integrated Palliative
    care Outcome Scale (IPOS)), participating in interactive tests (reaction, bowel sounds) and reading integrated information material.
  • Creation of a study design that evaluates at least two of the following properties of the developed app: Feasibility, adoption, usage, attrition, and/or efficacy.
  • Conduction and evaluation of the study.

The thesis must contain a detailed description of all developed and used algorithms as well as a profound result evaluation and discussion. The implemented code has to be documented and pro-vided. An extended research on literature, existing patents and related work in the corresponding areas has to be performed.


[1] World Health Organization. Palliative care. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/palliative-care, 2020. [Online; accessed 17-Dezember-2022].
[2] C. Widberg, B. Wiklund, and A. Klarare. Patients’ experiences of eHealth in palliative care: an integrative review. BMC Palliat Care, 19(1):158, Oct 2020.
[3] Nicole Heneka, Tim Shaw, Debra Rowett, Samuel Lapkin, and Jane Phillips. Medication errors with opioids: Scoping the extent of the problem in specialist palliative care inpatient services. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal, 25 (6), 42., 25(6), 2017.
[4] N. Heneka, T. Shaw, D. Rowett, and J. L. Phillips. Quantifying the burden of opioid medication errors in adult oncology and palliative care settings: A systematic review. Palliat Med, 30(6):520-532, Jun 2016.
[5] M. J. Allsop, S. Taylor, M. I. Bennett, and B. M. Bewick. Understanding patient requirements for technology systems that support pain management in palliative care services: A qualitative study. Health Informatics J, 25(3):1105-1115, Sep 2019.