The Knee Care Press


We’ve seen the future of orthopaedics, and it’s digital

How the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption and integration of digital health tools in orthopaedics.

Wearable Sensor Devices (WDSs) like smart watches and fitness trackers are likely to play “a significant role in the emerging age of Digital Orthopaedics,” claim the authors of a recent review, that highlights the benefits of digital health technologies utilised during the pandemic to manage orthopaedic patients remotely. 1

By providing ‘real-time’ feedback, WSDs are believed to increase patient involvement in their care and have been successfully employed to monitor patient-reported outcomes, pain levels and other post-op symptoms in elderly patients with arthritis.1

The authors also suggest that the “real-time objective physical activity data obtained from WSDs is a more objective measurement than self-reported data for physical activity, which is subject to significant bias.” 1 They conclude by saying that “there are many opportunities to use consumer-grade sensors in orthopaedic care.” 1

Patient Engagement Platforms (PEPs) have been shown to provide a meaningful connection between patients and their care team 2, and have proven effective in the collection of patient reported outcome measures.1 They allow the opportunity for rapid wound assessment through image sharing and a rapid response where the appearance of wounds are concerning. 2

According to the authors, “patient engagement increases a patient’s willingness to participate in care and is associated with improved patient interactions, decreased cost, emergency visits, and hospitalization”. 1

They believe that “the potential for PEPs in orthopaedics to expand during and after the current pandemic is high.” 1 Many elective procedures have been delayed because of the pandemic, and many patients now face an extended wait for their knee arthroplasty. PEPs can help keep this group of patients informed and connected with their care team and provide education and advice to help them better manage their condition from home until their surgery. 1

See the full article to find out about the other technologies reviewed:

  1. Bini SA, Schilling PL, Patel SP, Kalore NV, Ast MP, Maratt JD, Schuett DJ, Lawrie CM, Chung CC, Steele GD. Digital Orthopaedics: A Glimpse into the Future in the Midst of a Pandemic. JoA 2020; 35: S68-S73. Find the source here.
  2. Sosa A, Heineman N, Thomas K, Tang K, Feinstein M, Martin MY, et al. Improving patient health engagement with mobile texting: a pilot study in the head and neck postoperative setting. Head Neck 2017;39: 988-95. Find the source here.

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