People who are recovering from total joint replacements may benefit from online follow-up care more than the typical suggestion - return visits to a physician's office or clinic, according to a recent study presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
In what could be referred to as a development in telehealth, researchers found that total joint replacement patients who received follow-up surgery care through an internet program saved money and time, while allowing the physician's office to receive new patients or those with post-surgical complications, the study found.
The study looked at 210 total knee replacement patients, half of whom were asked to complete web-based therapy and half of whom were asked to return to the office for their regular appointments. Those in the web-based follow-up group completed an online survey and had an X-ray taken at the nearest internet-enabled facility.
Overall, this type of home care saved the patient and his or her caregiver missed hours at work. People in this group also reported fewer travel-related costs, distance traveled and time spent on their routine follow-up care, the study found.