New work presented at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has found that tele-rehabilitation doesn’t have to mean that patients end up back in the hospital.
The study, “Tele-Rehabilitation for Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty Patients: No Increase in Readmissions,” followed 40 patients who underwent total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) but then, in addition to four to six traditional/face-to-face physical therapy sessions, did rehab sessions at home with an animated avatar called VERA (virtual exercise rehabilitation assistant).
The tele-rehabilitation patient outcomes were compared to 614 patients who were discharged to home and underwent home or outpatient physical therapy following THA or TKA.
The tele-rehabilitation group had essentially the same low 30 day to 90-day readmission rates that were recorded for patients that had traditional home or outpatient physical therapy.
The tele-rehab group had the following readmission statistics—30 day, 2.5% vs. 4.2% (for traditional rehab patients); 90 day, 2.5% vs. 5.7% (traditional).
The researchers also found that there was a near identical rate of emergency department visits at 90 days (tele-rehabilitation, 10%; traditional, 9.8%).
Among the research findings:
- Patients had high rates of accuracy in performing exercises—93% for the TKA group and 90% for the THA group.
- None of the TKA tele-rehabilitation patients required manipulation.
- Cost analysis showed a minimum cost savings of $1,000 with tele-rehabilitation.
By Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed. | Orthopedics This Week
Image Credit: Reflexion Health