A study in the September 26th issue of JAMA showed that the number of total knee replacements have grown 161.5% over the past two decades. Quoting the article in Modern Healthcare: "The journal article noted that with 600,000 procedures performed annually at a cost of $9 billion a year, total knee replacements are one of the most common and costliest procedures in the country."
Hospitals (and payers) are looking for more cost-efficient ways to complete procedures and deliver on quality requirements. Patient preparation, preoperative processes, and care coordination are all candidates for renewed scrutiny. Patient pathways are often antiquated and could greatly benefit from smart use of Health IT.
The study found that knee replacement patients are spending half as much time in the hospital as they used to: 3.5 days vs. 7.9, but 30-day readmissions and infection rates have gone up. Discharge communications appear to be one culprit. There is clearly opportunity for improvement here. Standardized printouts from the EHR are not patient friendly. Simple improvements in readability could yield gains.
The blog for this week’s Wall Street Journal Informed Patient explored Washington state hospitals’ efforts to make sure their patients are properly prepared for surgery to reduce complications. The "Strong for Surgery" program brings a pre-surgery checklist to doctors offices to improve surgery outcomes. When patients invest their time to manage weight, do exercises, or get the right nutrition, they are more confident and outcomes improve.
We at Wellbe.me believe that making sure patients are properly prepared for surgery can make a difference. See how Orthopedic Units at major hospitals can raise patient satisfaction and gain market-share by engaging patients in a partnership with care teams. Download the whitepaper "Improving the Patient Experience for Total Joint Replacements."