3 benefits of using telehealth rehabilitation following total knee, hip arthroplasty

Using telehealth technology may lower costs, as well as increase patient satisfaction and compliance, according to research presented at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, March 12-16 in Las Vegas.

Researchers studied 40 total knee and hip arthroplasty patients enrolled to use telehealth rehabilitation after surgery. Patients used an animated avatar to do daily exercises and had four to six face -to-face physical therapy sessions. Functional outcomes, accuracy, compliance and satisfaction rates were tracked through a device set up in the patient's home. Tele-rehabilitation outcomes were compared to 614 patients who underwent outpatient physical therapy after total knee and hip arthroplasty.

The key research takeaways:

1. There was a minimum cost savings of $1,000 when tele-rehabilitation was utilized.

2. None of the total knee replacement tele-rehabilitation patients required manipulation to treat knee stiffness.

3. Patients in the tele-rehabilitation group had high rates of accuracy in performing exercises, with 93 percent accuracy for the total knee arthroplasty group and 90 percent for the total hip arthroplasty group.

"One of the strengths of this system is that you actually know if the patient is doing therapy," said Mary I. O'Connor, MD, director of the New Haven, Conn.-based Yale School of Medicine's Center for Musculoskeletal Care. "Unlike before, I know if a patient has logged on and done their exercises. Another nice feature is that the physical therapist can interact live with the patient. It is another opportunity to have a higher-quality touchpoint with the patient without the patient having to come into the office."

Read more here.

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