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Texting Intervention Engages Patients After Joint Arthroplasty

Patient outcomes improved compared with traditional perioperative education

FRIDAY, Jan. 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A text-messaging (Short Message Service [SMS]) bot is effective for increasing patient engagement after primary total knee or hip arthroplasty, according to a study published in the Jan. 16 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Kevin J. Campbell, M.D., from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and colleagues compared the effectiveness of an SMS bot (76 patients) to that of the traditional perioperative education process (83 patients) for patients undergoing primary total knee or hip arthroplasty.

The researchers found that compared with the control group, patients in the intervention group exercised for significantly more minutes per day (46.4 ± 17.4 versus 37.7 ± 16.3 minutes). Compared with the control group, the intervention group also had significantly improved mood (mean visual analogue scale mood score, 7.5 ± 1.8 versus 6.5 ± 1.7 points), stopped their narcotic medications sooner (mean time, 22.5 ± 13.4 versus 32.4 ± 11.8 days), placed fewer telephone calls to the surgeon’s office (mean calls, 0.6 ± 0.8 versus 2.6 ± 3.4), and had greater knee range of motion three weeks after surgery (mean flexion, 101.2 ± 11.2 versus 93.8 ± 14.5 degrees); at six weeks, range of motion was equal.

“As we search for practical methods to engage patients, automated messages providing education, support, and encouragement create a natural and convenient way for patients to receive information, potentially improving key outcomes without placing extra time demands on the surgeon and staff,” Campbell said in a statement.

Two authors were cofounders and one was a member of the formation team of the text-messaging service (StreaMD).

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