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CatchMyPain Community and Pain Diary App to manage chronic illness

Important news about the future of this app

Nov 14, 2016 8:26 AM

Dear community members,

I need to share some important news with you:

As you might already know, I am a chronic pain patient too and I've experienced the same endless odyssey many of you have experienced: Going from one doctor to another, trying to get properly diagnosed and trying dozens of different treatments to finally get rid of (or at least ease) the pain... while trying to not lose my mind.

Because of this personal experience, I came up with the idea for this app and have been working on it full-time over the past six years. During the first one and a half years, I worked alone and had no salary. However in late 2011, I was able to get a Swiss government grant, money from a foundation and investments from friends and family which allowed me to recruit a small team of two additional people and pay each of us a modest salary. At some point we were even seven team members working on this app and everything around it.

Although we've achieved quite a lot (e.g. over 160k registered users), there was always one thing that we were struggling with: Generating enough revenues to cover our salaries in a sustainable way. Although you can spend money in the app, and fortunately some of you do so (thank you so much!), we are very far away from covering even one monthly salary. Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to blame anybody nor am I trying to make anybody feel guilty. I know that many of you are not only struggling with pain but also financially.

Because we don't want to put the financial burden on patients, we have always been looking for ways to earn money from other parties, e.g. health insurances, pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies etc.. We had a few smaller success stories but never got the necessary big breakthrough. We were able to close a couple more financing rounds with business angels (independent investors) which gave us more time to improve the app and find a sustainable revenue model. This summer, it looked like we were finally going to get that big necessary breakthrough: A big contract with an online pharmacy. However, in the last second they pulled out of the deal because they have major problems in an ongoing project (which has nothing to do with us) which they need to solve first...

Because those expected revenues didn't come in and because we had no other deals in the pipeline, I had only one option left: I had to let go of my two remaining developers and myself and I had to close down our office with effect of September 30th, 2016 (this might explain why the support hasn't been as good lately as it was before).

I apologize for not having told you all of this a lot earlier, but I just needed to get some time off and reflect on everything including the future of this app and my personal future. It has been a very long and intense journey for me (and my team!)...

Now, what effect does all of this have on the app?

The good news is that the app revenues cover the hosting/server costs. This means we will be able to keep both the new Pain Companion app and the "old" CatchMyPain app running for as long as the app revenues don't decline.

The bad news is that we won't be able to add any new features or fix bugs, for the time being. There is one exception: In his spare time, Andreas is trying to fix the diary export problem (in some cases, the export page can't be loaded). I am very sorry that we won't be able to fix the other bugs that some of you are experiencing.

I hope that at some point in time, I will be able to hire a developer again who can fix the other bugs and keep improving the app. This means I am not giving up! This is just way to important to me and I haven't achieved yet what I intended to: Many chronic pain conditions still seem to be a big mystery to everybody (including pain specialists!). We need to change this sad circumstance! There are way too many patients suffering, because there hasn't been done enough research and because only a small number of medical professionals and patients are up to date on the state of the art diagnosis and treatment of the many different chronic pain conditions. I believe there is a huge potential for improvement and I will keep working on realizing that potential. The pain diary and the wonderful community that we have is just the beginning.

This is my plan for the future:

I have to get a regular job to pay my bills and pay back my loan that I used to invest in our startup, but I will keep working on this app and the pain research in my spare time. I hope there will come the day when I can go back to working full-time on this project. But this might take years.

This is what I will be working on in my spare time:

- Providing support
- Writing articles and creating more videos
- Getting funding to pay for app improvements and bug fixes
- Analyzing all the anonymized pain diary data to gain new insights about the various chronic pain conditions

This last point (data analytics) is what I am currently focusing on and it sort of means going back to the roots: In my early years of being a pain patient, I've imagined that there must be hundreds or even thousands of other patients on this planet having the exact same pain problem just like me. And I imagined that if we put all our learnings and experiences together, it would become much easier to identify the underlying causes and the right set of treatments for our specific pain condition. The same thing could be done for all the other conditions out there. This "wisdom of the crowd" or collective intelligence is supposed to help every patient and doctor to discover the right diagnosis and the right set of treatments as quickly as possible. This idea is the reason why I started working on this project.

As a first step, I am trying to identify patterns in the pain drawings for specific pain conditions. E.g. what does a typical fibromyalgia pain pattern look like and which pain patterns can be used to rule out fibromyalgia. The University Hospital of Berne in Switzerland is helping me to analyze the anonymized data and they have many other ideas for further research. Once we have some first results, I will share them with you.

Last but not least, I would like to thank each one of you for your support during all those years. Reading all your supportive and kind posts in the community shows me that I am not alone in this fight against pain. You are doing a tremendous job supporting each other and I am very proud of being a member of this wonderful community.

If you would like to support this app and our pain research even further, there are many different ways to do so:

- Tell other pain patients about this app (friends, on social media, blogs, etc.)
- Write a positive review in the app store. Your 5-star rating is the single most effective way to help other patients find and enjoy the app. Those are the according links for the Pain Companion app:

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sanovation.paincompanion

iPhone: https://itunes.apple.com/app/pain-companion/id985521736?mt=8

- If your budget allows it, purchase a Pain Companion supporter subscription (tap on the "Become a Supporter" link in the navigation menu) or buy some of the features in the CatchMyPain app.
- Let me know if you know anybody who might be interested in sponsoring the app and our work
- Keep up your great work of welcoming and supporting new community members
- And please let me know if you have any other ideas about how to grow and improve this community and gain new insights about chronic pain.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and for being part of this wonderful community. Talk to you soon, I am not going anywhere ;-)

Love,
Daniel

CEO & Co-Founder of the Pain Companion and CatchMyPain apps

Nov 14, 2016 8:33 AM

Daniel. This app has become so important to me as well as my medical team. I wish there was a way to organize a panel of medical doctors who would help.support this app.

Thank you so much for all that you do.

Nov 14, 2016 9:12 AM

So sorry to hear this news Daniel, what you have created is more than just an app, it is so important to many of us, thank you for letting us in on this sad news. Thank you to you and your team for everything you have been able to create here, we are like a family, and I'm sure many will agree with that. Thank you for fixing all the issues the app came up with and working tirelessly on the ones that were still causing problems. All the best 😊

Nov 14, 2016 10:23 AM

Oh no that's awful Daniel, I've only recently joined and feel like I've been included in a family....one that knows and understands my daily struggles. Hopefully you'll be able to find some financial support soon 😒

Nov 14, 2016 12:07 PM

Thank you Daniel for all that you do. I really admire how you manage this app whilst in chronic pain. God bless and I really hope things work out for you in the future ❀️

Nov 14, 2016 12:50 PM

Sending u so much love Daniel πŸ˜™ this is just a pit stop b4 things pick up again. But thanQ for everything πŸ€— u r our hero 😚

Nov 14, 2016 4:52 PM

From the bottom of my very sore body. I want to thank you so very much Daniel. Your app has literally been a life saver for me. There are so very many supportive, caring wonderful people here who have made life better for me. I get a giggle every day πŸ˜ŠπŸ€—πŸ’œ

Nov 15, 2016 3:21 AM

Thanks, if I can help with anything code or data related, let me know.
I am an Identity Management Administrator for the SCHWARZ Group, with expertise in mass data management, and am a freelance coder (usually C#), with over 20 years of customer service.

Nov 15, 2016 3:33 AM

Daniel I am sorry you are finding it hard at the moment. Keep the faith this app is important to so many people. The support here is amazing. Such wonderful people help make the app a family community one I am proud to be a part of so thank you so much for creating this app x

Nov 15, 2016 3:49 AM

Daniel, what you have done and continue to do makes a global difference. There is so much good data that is so helpful to capture and share for the good of all. I appreciate the app so much I would happily endorse advertisements to help sustain and improve the quality of the app. Have you considered seeking investment from a non- health or pharmaceutical provider. You have the numbers (registers users/ pain warriors) to capture marketing revenue! All the best with your personal journey and thank you for reducing my isolation and increasing my knowledge of pain, life lessons and even an occasional laugh from funny posts!

Nov 15, 2016 3:59 AM

I'm with Chchkiwi if you need to seek revenue from advertisements to help sustain the app then I wouldn't mind because this app is literally a life saver and has pushed me further in my need for answers. Everyone is like family here x

Nov 15, 2016 5:24 AM

Wow thank you so much for your kind words and for your support. This means so much to me. I literally have tears in my eyes reading your posts... tears of joy. Thank you!

Nov 15, 2016 7:21 AM

I know I'm going to make enemies with this one but have you considered ads?
Maybe a banner at the bottom of the home screen and a pop up when you complete the pain entry. You can generate revenue from the ads and not have to rely solely on broken people. And a lot of people will pay a one time fee to have adds removed that won't or can't pay for a subscription.
Just a thought

Nov 15, 2016 4:33 PM

Hi Daniel, I have attempted writing a review for this app but it never accepts my user name! So all data is lost... you don't appear to have many reviews this may be the reason?? I will try again in a few days. Best wishes

Nov 15, 2016 4:44 PM

Daniel,
First I'd like to say to you (the head of the family), thank you for all you have done for us as a community to help each of us find like minded people who have the same symptoms and/or just have pain as we do.
Your ideas are absolutely amazing and I've no doubt that you will achieve your goals.
In the realm of what is happening right I will do whatever is in my power to help you, our P

Nov 15, 2016 4:55 PM

Daniel you have the heart & soul every doctor should have. The creation of this app has helped so many of us including myself. Thank you for everything you do. I'll pass the word as much as I can. Prayers and hugs!

Nov 15, 2016 8:43 PM

Daniel you have done an amazing job with your two pain apps, giving so much value for free and all the while dealing with your own pain. Thank you! I'm so sorry to hear you are having a rough time at the moment and I wish you well and hope you come through this to a better place soon. Take good care of yourself.

Nov 16, 2016 4:07 AM

Thanks a lot for all the additional feedback and support :-D

@gotobef: I would be willing to put ads into the app. But I think those would have to be close sponsorhips with pharma or medical device companies or pharmacies in which they become premium partners supporting the app. The problem with general ads (which means there is a window in the app that is filled with content by whoever is paying (e.g. dating sites, shopping sites, etc.)) is that you need hundreds of thousands daily visitors to get substantial revenues and at the moment it is not worth the effort. But the premium partnerships is something that could work very well and we already had some of those deals in the past.

@everybody: Please let me know if you have any contacts to the above mentioned medical companies.

@KiwiCycle: When writing reviews it is important that you use your app store credentials not the Pain Companion username. The appstore doesn't know anything about your Pain Companion account and vice versa. Does that solve the problem? The number of reviews shouldn't matter. But after saving the review it might take some time (1-2 days) until you can see it on the review page.

@chezza1 and Jojo262: I am very fortunate that my pain situation has significantly improved over the last couple of years. Otherwise I feel like I wouldn't have been able to do all this.

Again, thank you so much to everybody.

Nov 16, 2016 6:15 AM

This app Saved me sir... I'm a chronic migraine and insomniac previous cancer patient now learning to deal with Fibromyalgia, Gerds, and IBS-D... The people I have met here are invaluable I made great friends here, and learned so much from others but it's that support back that makes u wanna finish the race that day even if u couldn't or didn't want to!!!! I love what you have done I thank you I pray things go better... Hugz

Nov 16, 2016 6:55 AM

Hi and thanks for creating this App, im only a newbie so will share this with family and the pain/fibro groups on facebook. Is there a way to set up a gofundme? Im sure if there was one a lot of ppl will donate funds to help out in anyway you need

Nov 16, 2016 9:57 AM

Sorry to hear this and thanks for all you're doing. Have you considered a Kickstarter campaign? That might help.

Nov 16, 2016 11:13 AM

Daniel, I'm sorry for what you are struggling through with the apps. Would it be more cost effective to have only one app: Catch My Pain v/s Pain Companion? Both are great apps, and I use both, as do many others. But if it will help you cost-wise then I'm willing to go to one app. I prefer charting my pain in CMP app, but I could do it in the PC app. I prefer chatting in the PC app though I could use the CMP chat (it just doesn't allow private chat). Sacrifice may be needed by all until you do get that financial breakthrough... And it will come! Thanks for everything you have done!! Hugs love & prayers this additional stress won't negatively affect your pain! πŸ™‚πŸ’•πŸ™πŸŒΈ

Nov 16, 2016 11:17 AM

Daniel, I just wanted to let you know that I've spoken to the office manager at my pain management office. There are a few ideas we tossed around to help get you sponsorship.
I also wanted to say that I commend you on your tenacity to push forward and not give up. You're a good man!!! I'll do whatever I can to help and bounce ideas off of some other members to find a solution to help you through this quicker. Best regards, Daniel!!!πŸ’•πŸ˜Š

Nov 17, 2016 12:12 AM

Daniel Warrior, I am so sorry they pulled out & you had to let people go. Must have been a big blow. However I feel you will succeed one day soon. I tell everyone about this app! You came into my life at a crucial juncture for which I am so grateful. This app has grown so wonderfully since when I first discovered it. You should be pretty proud. Hold on to your dream & you will succeed. Thank you so much 😊

Nov 17, 2016 3:37 AM

Are there other features or functionality that the community is looking for that will help get more users to the app and excite advertisers?

Nov 17, 2016 9:03 AM

@Daniel. Please reach out to me directly to discuss possibly opportunities. I sent a direct message.

Nov 19, 2016 7:47 AM

I've subscribed, keep being awesome β™₯️

Nov 20, 2016 9:58 AM

@MizzMonroe: Thank you so much for your prayers. I am glad to hear the app helped you!

@Kell74, @Gibber: Thanks for your feedback and suggestions. In the early days we have looked into kickstarter but decided to get funding from investors and foundations because setting up a kickstarter campaign or something similar takes a lot of time. In addition, I am not sure if we would be able to attract enough backers because kickstarter heavily relies on backers posting about their backing and this way pulling in more backers. Pain usually isn't something people would want to promote on their facebook page and other social media platforms. In addition, pain sufferers spend a lot of money on meds and other things already. Then there are legal challenges: We are based in Switzerland (Europe) and we are not allowed to use kickstarter, we can only use European platforms. But the majority of our users are from the US and they wouldn't be allowed to participate on an European platform, I believe. But I would have to take another look into this. Or maybe there's somebody in the community who has done something like this already...?

@FlappysLady81: Thanks a lot for your support and prayers. The CatchmyPain and Pain Companion apps run on the same server and they share a lot of the infrastructure. So it wouldn't make a big difference to turn off one of the apps.

@Alwayzinpain: Thank you so much for brainstorming ideas with your pain management office and for your kind words and support. If you'd like to, we could have a skype call to brainstorm a couple of ideas together?

@silvrrry: Thank you so much, I am not letting go of the dream :-D

@BackFog: Thanks, that's a very good question. I am looking forward to speaking with you.

Again, a big thank you to everybody :-) You support is very uplifting!

Nov 20, 2016 9:58 AM

@Jesskibee: Thank you so much! :-)

Nov 20, 2016 10:14 AM

Hello... I am very sorry to hear about the troubles that are in front of you as the CEO of this wonderful app. I am a chronic pain and fatigue sufferer by means of Lupus and Sjogren Disease. I am a disabled nurse and a Master degree student for counseling in chronic conditions. I also have my own business that I too am trying to run and have to compensate through working when I can. I am more than happy to volunteer my time and any services that you may need help in my email is jedeja73@gmail.com and a number 404-631-6240. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future. God Bless

Nov 20, 2016 1:59 PM

For safety sake you shouldn't put person information like email and phone on public forum.

Nov 20, 2016 6:55 PM

Daniel, any time you'd like to do that, it's perfectly fine with me. I'd be happy to assist in any way I can.

Nov 21, 2016 11:31 AM

This is not direct personal information but my work information that I use freely.

Nov 21, 2016 1:32 PM

Hi Daniel,

I just wanted to let you know how sorry I am to hear about this! As I've told you before, what you've done for the pain community is incredible! What many would think impossible, you have done! I know that this must be a very difficult time for you but I know you will continue to go on to do amazing things and continue to accomplish the impossible! I'm sorry for being out of touch the last few months, it seems we both had a few challenging months, but please know I'm here and would be honored to continue working with you when you're ready. Hope you're feeling good and taking good care of yourself. :-)

Nov 21, 2016 6:10 PM

I have just started with catch my pain and now I want to sync my info from there, and between my iPhone and iPad. Is that possible?

Nov 22, 2016 6:24 AM

Koko as long as you have the app in both places and even on your pc, it will sync automatically. At least mine does. I've been using it so long I can't remember if it was a setting or it just happened..

Nov 24, 2016 12:37 PM

That's disappointing news. Is there a reason you chose a closed source model for development, could you reduce overheads by open sourcing and sharing the maintenance of aspects such as the forum with other people/projects. From a funding perspective what measurable benefit does the app give users? I know the insights have been useful to me, this reduces the cost to the healthcare system but by how much? If there was a provable link between better outcomes and the app use then surely healthcare providers (in countries who think their populations health is a government issue, insurers elsewhere) would be keen. It could be a lot cheaper than many other prescriptions and fits with the rise of green prescriptions, blue prescriptions etc. I think this is different from seeking insights into conditions that you mention above but it's been a long thread to read on a phone so sorry if this is repetition.
With metta

Nov 25, 2016 8:08 AM

@Cricket and Alwayzinpain: Thank you so much for offering your help. I have to prepare a couple of things and then I will contact you (within the next few weeks).

@CRPSwarrior: Thanks a lot for your message. I am sorry for being out of touch too. It would be great to create more content together. I will contact you within the next couple of weeks too.

@fontalamh: Thanks for your feedback. We chose the closed source approach because otherwise we wouldn't have gotten the necessary funding to develop the first version of the app. Starting the development with the open source approach would have been very difficult... I am going to start a survey soon which will evaluate the benefit of this app.

Nov 25, 2016 11:13 AM

Count me in too Daniel... πŸ€—anything to help out..πŸ€”. i have a few ideas... 😊be nice if we could get a realtime video shop going 😘to meet and bounce ideas around together...πŸ˜„ on say Skype or a similar platform... 🐫whatever u need! πŸ€—

Nov 26, 2016 11:24 AM

Daniel, I'm here whenever you are ready!! Let me know. πŸ€— Lulabel always has great ideas and I know if we all put our heads together, we'll come up with a solution.😊

Nov 26, 2016 12:10 PM

I really don't understand why you made the new app the old one seems to have more features and look more professional also you can't edit entries in the new app

Nov 26, 2016 9:20 PM

Just found you today so sad to hear this. Have you considered a smaller free version and then a pro $ version. Also I will be purchazing the mood tracker and maybe the weather one. Would love a food an exercise tracker for purchase. Thanks for all you do!!!!

Dec 02, 2016 12:52 PM

Hey Daniel, You must feel great responcibility for this community, and you have done so great on this app, but if you need time to yourself and need to regroup and get your affairs in order, that is completely acceptable, and no one here likes seeing you in this tough situation. I think I can speak for the community when I say, we support you in your desision and just want you to be healthy mentally and physically, take your time, take care of you, and if the app goes off line or something, I'm sure you'll have it back up in no time! I believe in you!

Apr 08, 2017 8:39 PM

@Daniel: hi, is there a way to contact you privately?

Apr 09, 2017 5:09 AM

@Paincatcher3 just click on Daniels name (in blue) on any comment he wrote. That takes you to his profile page and there is a box there to private message him. I included a screen shot to make is easier. Again it has to be from one if his comments the screenshot I sent you is just a picture.

Apr 10, 2017 1:34 AM

Hi Daniel, thank you for your very honest and informative update. Sorry you have to take a break for now but it sounds wise and as you say you're not going anywhere :-).

Could a crowd funding model help to kick-start the process when you do have time to return? If there are 160k registered users, and each donated an average of $10, that could be a good start. It could also show investors the market sentiment amongst users.

First and foremost, good luck in going back to the work place. Looking after number one is so important in chronic pain. Well done on making your decision and good luck with the coming months.

Thanks for what you all have given us. You should be proud. It's an amazing achievement for anyone but even more so someone battling with chronic pain.

Apr 11, 2017 6:03 AM

This isn't so much an opportunity with an investor as one to perhaps make yourself more appealing to certain investors. Have you considered becoming an NHS certified/recommend app there is a list on the NHS choices of those apps and it has helped many apps on there to gain investment. I'm not sure of the process but I will see if I can find a link

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