Giving patients access to vital healthcare information at their fingertips, the smartphone app will support patients in their pre-surgery preparation and rehabilitation programs.
Total knee replacement procedures in Australia have risen by 77 per cent between 2003 and 2014 alone.
Studies have shown that rehabilitation exercises following surgery can lead to faster recovery times, however many patients fail to implement an effective preparation or rehabilitation plan.
The app provides patients with practical information including physiotherapy demonstration videos, pre-surgery checklists, reminders and supportive information in text, video and audio format.
The technology also includes a wearable activity tracker to encourage basic exercise, track sleep and self monitor progress.
This will link to a website where clinicians can configure individual physiotherapy programs and monitor patient progress remotely.
Dr Rob Grenfell, CSIRO Health and Biosecurity Director, said the technology had the potential to make a huge difference to patient recovery.
“The aim of our digital health platforms are to support patients on their surgery journey and recovery," Dr Grenfell said.
"As more Australians face surgical treatment for osteoarthritis, more work needs to be done to understand how we can deliver accessible and cost effective services for patients and clinicians.
"This study will allow us to understand the ways in which the app changes the patient experience.
“The collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices is another great example of science working with industry to improve people’s lives.”
Dr Michael Hunter, an orthopaedic specialist and member of the Australian Orthopaedic Association said patient engagement in their recovery was essential during rehabilitation, and he hoped this interactive app would assist patients to stay on track.
“Studies have demonstrated that sound pre-operative preparation and post-operative rehabilitative exercises following a total knee replacement can improve outcomes by increasing muscle strength, improving joint function, restoring functional mobility, preventing deep vein thrombosis and shortening recovery times,” Dr Hunter said.
“The online portal will also provide instant access to patient recovery data enabling clinicans to act upon progress in real time fashion.”
Launched in November 2016, up to 300 patients will be involved in the trial across five hospitals from multiple states in Australia.
Recruitment of patients is currently underway at Gosford Private Hospital in New South Wales, Mater Hospital Brisbane and Mater Private Hospital Brisbane in Queensland.
The trial will compare the recovery process of patients who receive the normal standard of care against those who receive the normal standard plus the Total Knee Replacement rehabilitation platform designed by CSIRO.
Mr Gavin Fox-Smith, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Managing Director said this trial presents a great opportunity to provide additional support to clinicians and patients undergoing total knee replacement surgery.
“We are committed to improving surgical outcomes to support a patient’s journey from pre-surgery education and exercises to post-operative compliance and return to wellness," Mr Fox-Smith said.
"We believe that the use of innovative technology combined with sound clinical research practices through this clinical trial will provide information to support the best outcomes for patients, surgeons and hospitals.
“CSIRO is a leader in digital health research, so it made sense for us to collaborate with them for this research.”
The trial is an important step prior to introducing the health app to the market, where the use of innovative technology, combined with sound clinical research practices, will provide the best outcomes for patients, surgeons and hospitals.