Patients who have had total joint replacement (TJR) are expected to return to their physician's office or clinic regularly for routine follow-up care. In a new study presented today at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), researchers asked 210 TKR patients (with no known complications) to either complete a Web-based follow-up, which included an online survey and an X-ray taken at the nearest Internet-enabled facility; or, to return to the clinic/office for their regular appointment.
The patients who chose the Web-based follow-up reported less travel-related costs ($4.00 versus $21.41), distance traveled (29.1 km versus 110.2 km), and time spent (44.6 minutes versus 55.6 minutes) on their routine follow-up care. In addition, patients in the usual care group missed 5.7 hours of work on average, and their caregivers, 6.4 hours. Web-based follow-up can provide significant time and cost savings to TKR patients without complications, and make the physician's office more accessible to new patients, patients awaiting surgery, and/or patients with post-surgical complications.