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Orthopedic Surgery: Remote Monitoring App to Help Clear the Backlog of Patients

Katherine Whelan
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Medical manufacturers Smith+Nephew have recently partnered with the digital technology startup Huma to create the Peri-Op app which will assist in the management of patients undergoing knee and hip replacement surgery.

Through this app, patients receive pre-surgery guidance, access virtual rehabilitation resources and can have video calls with their surgical team, whilst clinicians monitor how patients are recovering and use health data to check if patients will be well enough for surgery. A Covid-19 symptom tracker also checks for self-reported signs of infection before being admitted to the hospital and after discharge, giving reassurance to patients and staff.

The app is already being used at five NHS hospitals across the UK, where Huma is the pilot market. It is expected to go live in Germany, Australia, South Africa, India and Malaysia by the end of the year, with Spain and Italy also in development.

Professor Edward Davis, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon at Ramsay West Midlands Hospital in the UK, said:

“Many hospitals around the world are facing a backlog of patients. They are often older, in pain and with a severely impacted quality of life. The use of this smart technology enables surgical centers to support patients through treatment, given the considerable constraints of operating and seeing patients during a pandemic.”

The app is currently being used to help more patients access elective joint replacement surgery safely, but the developers hope the data collected will lead to further improvements in surgical decision-making and outcomes. According to them, previous research has shown the positive impact that better preparation can have on patients, such as reducing recovery time, and digital services like this can offer timely, tailored information and reminders to help patients be prepared.

Simon Tarry, managing director for Smith+Nephew in the UK, Ireland and Nordics, explained:

“The app is a major development which we believe will make an immediate impact on the surgical landscape. Partnering with Huma, we have created a sophisticated app which allows Smith+Nephew to support an end-to-end “latform and solution around the prosthesis itself. In the short-term, the app will support our mission to get patients back into surgery safely during the pandemic, but the longer-term capabilities of the app could transform how surgeons and patients manage their surgical pathways in the future.”

An App Both for Patients and Surgeons

Huma’s Peri-Op solution has two parts: a patient app and a web-based portal for surgical teams. The patient app provides timed educational content, activity tracking, and in-licensed questionnaires to ensure patients are optimized pre-op and provided with increased support post-op. The web-based portal provides aggregated, anonymized real-world data that can be used to correlate outcomes with the type of knee or hip implant, surgery, and rehabilitation approach to support further improvements in clinical care.

Elizabeth Wood, a knee replacement patient who has trialed the app said:

“I got great comfort having the app—it’s like having your very own digital doctor at home. Throughout my journey, it kept me on track with my rehab and made me feel incredibly connected.”

The Covid-19 crisis has resulted in huge shortfalls in cancer care, mental health services and planned surgery.
The Covid-19 crisis has resulted in huge shortfalls in cancer care, mental health services and planned surgery.

Huma’s Peri-Op solution has two parts: a patient app and a web-based portal for surgical teams.

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