Healthcare professional helps senior woman walk with a walker

People who had hip and knee replacements and reported on outcomes had a “small improvement” over traditional post-surgery care, a study shows.

The researchers looked at data from 3,697 people who had primary hip replacement and 3,110 with knee replacement across nine German hospitals. They used their scores on the 100-point European Quality of Life Visual Analogue Scale (EQ-VAS) to gauge if regular monitoring remotely affected outcomes, comparing it to reporting at admission, discharge and one year after surgery.

The scores were better among people who had knee and hip replacement and used the patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) at one month, three months and six months after surgery, in addition to getting questionnaires at admission, discharge and one year after surgery. This was compared to a control group that only looked at PROMS at admission, discharge and one year after surgery.

People who more regularly reported had a higher mean increase from baseline to 12 months after surgery in quality of life score, fatigue score and depression score compared with those who only reported the three times. The report was published in JAMA Network Open.

The intervention yielded a 1.24-point improvement for those who had knee replacements. People with hip replacements had a 2.10-point improvement. 

“In many countries, joint replacements are common procedures that lack a standardized postsurgery pathway with regular consultations, bearing the risk of inadvertent postsurgery adverse effects remaining undetected,” the report said.

This is exacerbated in Germany, they added, “where inpatient care and outpatient care are separate care silos, hindering seamless follow-up care” — a charge that could be leveled at many other countries including the US.

It therefore stands to reason that “identifying and responding earlier to suboptimal outcome developments can improve patients’ well-being and recovery time,” the report said.

The researchers say that they need more research on ideal time intervals to measure how people recover from surgeries.