The state of rural healthcare is dwindling, and with 46 million Americans living in rural areas, the lack of resources can pose a threat to the care they receive and overall outcomes. In the case of hip, knee and other joint replacement procedures, the most common elective surgeries in the U.S., this presents unique challenges.
Nick Frisch, MD, a hip and knee replacement orthopedic surgeon at Crittenton Hospital Medical Center in Rochester, Michigan, meets with patients who travel upwards of five hours for primary joint replacement procedures.
“It’s very important that we educate patients ahead of surgeries so that they are as prepared as possible,” Frisch said. “Many patients, especially those who live in remote areas, may not have the option of coming in for an in-hospital class. Rather than the traditional paper booklet and joint replacement class, we’re now leveraging easy-to-access digital health solutions to deliver meaningful content to patients.”
Crittenton uses PeerWell's app to deliver customized daily lessons to those with scheduled surgeries. Other companies that produce similar apps include MobileSmith, SeamlessMD, TapCloud and Track My Recovery.
Patients receive bite-size daily activities covering all aspects related to pre-op preparation, including nutrition, exercise, pain/risk management, mindfulness tips and information on how to properly set up one’s home to eliminate fall hazards. Once the procedure is complete, Frisch follows patients during their recovery process through the app.
“Digital technology can deliver content at set intervals and quantities that, for some, enhances understanding and retention,” he explained. “Since content is delivered over time, the breadth can be expanded to include important topics that in a traditional clinical environment we may not have the capacity to discuss.”
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