Arthritis Foundation launches 'Vim' app for people living with chronic arthritis pain

The Arthritis Foundation is helping patients set short-term goals with its new app Vim, including sleep, healthy eating, weight loss, pain and medication tracking. (Arthritis Foundation)

Vim means energy and enthusiasm, and that's exactly what The Arthritis Foundation wants to give back to people living with chronic pain. So it's introducing Vim the app—with goals, management help and community support to help them get there.

The idea for Vim came out of the Arthritis Foundation's ongoing study of arthritis sufferers, summarized most recently in its "How it Hurts" report. The study found 87% of patients surveyed have arthritis pain that interferes with their daily lives and activities.

In follow-up focus groups with patients and doctors, the Arthritis Foundation discovered the best way to improve quality of life was to help patients set short-term goals. So, Vim's features include patient-inspired goals such as sleep, healthy eating, weight loss, tracking pain, controlling stress and complementary treatments.

Vim also sports a logging feature to track both over-the-counter and prescription medication, and educational and social sections round out the app.

RELATED: GSK partners with Arthritis Foundation as it preps Voltaren for OTC switch

“It really started making us look at what patients needed to live the life that they wanted to live," said Steve Taylor, executive vice president of mission and strategic initiatives for the Arthritis Foundation.

Johnson & Johnson pain brand Tylenol and Flexion Therapeutics, which makes Zilretta, an injectable approved for osteoarthritis knee pain, are sponsoring the app. 

Both longtime partners of the Foundation, the companies are "very important in our in our space because they help patients with different forms of arthritis, either with pain or other treatment options," Taylor said. "So they partner in many ways, obviously financial, but also content ideas."

Vim is meant to be customizable for people to use as they please, Taylor said. Too often apps "preach" to users about what they should be doing. With Vim, they only see the content they want—if they select weight loss, for instance, that’s what they’ll get—and won’t be pushed to articles on alternative therapies.

RELATED: Flexion adds ex-WNBA star Swoopes to promotion team for osteoarthritis med Zilretta

The Arthritis Foundation launched Vim with a virtual event in May and soon afterward hosted an Everyday Health Facebook Live event on pain management.

Ongoing media includes a paid social campaign as well as continued use of the charity’s own social channels, plus volunteer and advocacy networks. Still in the works are celebrity tie-ins and corporate sponsorship.

Vim is just the beginning of the Arthritis Foundation's three-year effort to investigate patients' pain and respond to their insights and needs.

“We'll be looking next at where it hurts—in regards to where it hurts at their home, their work, their lifestyle, their hobbies—and coming up with programming and content around that," Taylor said. "Then we'll be looking at why it hurts in regard to science—what treatments are on the horizon, how we might be able to fast track some of those.“