Online support following joint replacement surgery is cost and time effective for patients

February 8, 2012, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

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 , 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.

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