The prospect of looming surgery can be daunting. But a new app used by a Canberra orthopaedic practice is designed to calm the nerves as it guides patients through the process every step of the way.
The MyRecovery app at In Motion Orthopaedics helps patients educate themselves about everything they need to know before and after their medical procedure. This ‘forewarned is forearmed’ approach helps achieve better patient outcomes.
The app features informative videos, video tutorials for exercises, checklists and surveys to help patients prepare for surgery and track their progress. It also includes customised information created or chosen by the patient’s surgeon.
Owner of In Motion Orthopaedics Dr Damian Smith says it doesn’t replace face-to-face interaction, but builds on it.
“We’re all connected digitally these days and this is just another way patients and their surgeon can have an interaction that actually increases the contact and communication between the two,” Damian says.
“It’s also a great tool, adding to the information we give them in person. That’s one of the great things about the app: the surgeon can customise a lot of the tools, exercises and information. You’re not getting generic advice.”
It all starts during consultation when the doctor emails a link to the patient. There are two ways to register, either through the app itself (available on the Google Play Store or App Store) or an online form.
From there, the app walks the patient through the entire surgical process, starting with what to bring to hospital.
“It outlines simple things, such as what to pack, how to prepare the home environment for when you return, and a lot of other information you’re not going to know unless someone tells you,” Damian says.
“It’s akin to an athlete training for an event, much of the success is in the preparation. If we as a profession can assist the patient to prepare and be in the best health and fitness they can before surgery, the likelihood of a successful outcome is increased.
“The app is another tool that can help in this preparation.”
Regular questionnaires effectively play the role of check-ups by asking the patient about their pain levels, range of motion and general health. Just like everything else in the app, it allows the surgeon to track a patient’s progress as much as it allows the patient to look back on previous questionnaires and reflect on their own progress.
“I think this is very reassuring. If you’re at home just after your surgery, you can get on the app and see how you’re tracking.”
He says there are similar systems in other medical specialties, but this app targets orthopaedics and joint replacement surgeries.
In Motion Orthopaedics has just started enlisting patients so it’s too early for feedback. “But every patient I’ve spoken to about it has been quite enthusiastic.”
When it comes to surgeries over the past few months, Damien describes Canberra as “lucky”.
“Our health system had nearly 12 months to prepare before the full force of COVID-19 hit. We were very lucky in terms of elective surgery because we didn’t have quite the same shutdown as Sydney and Melbourne.”
Damian says the obvious hesitancy to venture out during the early days of lockdown has given way to a new confidence. As vaccination rates increased, so too have surgery numbers.
He says it’s now business as usual for private health care, even if the public system is still blighted with the strain of lengthy wait times and a lack of resources.
Visit In Motion Orthopaedics for more information.