Telehealth patient engagement program improves orthopedic outcomes

click to enlargeVOX Telehealth‘s patient engagement program with Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, which was announced back in January [TTA 12 Jan], published results for its pilot last month, and they appear to be outstanding. VOX’s model is ‘episode of care’, over a 90-120 day span starting 30 days prior to surgery to 60-90 days post-procedure; the online/tablet platform delivers educational content, reminders and notes on potential symptoms that ties into a customizable by patient alert escalation and notification system. The goal is to reduce post-discharge complications and readmissions, in this case for hip and knee replacement patients, through managing expectations and better preparation by the patient. And the results reported are encouraging:

  • 92 percent of enrolled patients were discharged directly to home–the US average is only 30 percent
  • Length of stay dropped to 1.6 days, nearly 50 percent lower than the US average of 3.7 days. It is lower than Bon Secours’ average of two days.
  • There were 0 readmissions after 30 days, compared to the US average of 6 percent
  • Patient satisfaction was also high:
    • 91 percent said the program helped them to manage their expectations before surgery
    • 91 percent were also satisfied with the overall care they received
    • 93 percent said the platform improved their episode-of-care experience
    • 55 percent said it made them more satisfied with their physician and hospital
    • Almost 80 percent of the patients responded to the 30-day post-discharge surveys, compared to the US average of 18 percent or less


If these results hold for larger groups (and both the mHealthNews and iHealthBeat articles don’t disclose the pilot numbers in the program and control group), Joint replacement surgery is expensive, and in fact is one of Medicare’s (and undoubtedly the NHS’ for older patients) leading expenditures, and it’s trending upwards at a rapid rate. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons projects a 673 percent spike in knee replacements and a 174 percent increase in annual hip replacements by 2030. Outcomes are also not good for all. This is an area which can use improvement both in cost and outcome. VOX release.

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