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  1. Bill Noble
  1. Correspondence to Professor Bill Noble, Academic Unit of Supportive Care, Sheffield Hallam University, London SE1 7TP, UK; bill.noble{at}

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My choice in this December Issue is ‘Information and communication technology for managing pain in palliative care: a review of the literature’ by Matthew Allsop and colleagues. They present a systematic search of literature concerning systems intended to support management of pain in palliative care patients with cancer. This is a very timely study as palliative care services in many parts of the world come under the scrutiny afforded by commissioning processes predicated on outcome measures. As usual in our field, there were few publications with an experimental design and none reporting the results of full implementation in a clinical service.

The authors report accounts of systems in various stages of development that mostly include a measure of pain as one dimension of health-related quality of life. The clinical value of this so called ‘real-time’ feedback as a means of managing pain is yet to be realised. However, it is clearly an essential part of service quality assurance and improvement and it behoves us to understand the validity of these methods at scale.

Pursuing the theme of scaling up palliative care, Collette …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.