Hip surgery patients heal at home in front of the TV

Telemedicine is helpful for patients who have undergone major hip surgery. Shortly after the operation they can be sent home to sit in front of the TV, from where they can see rehabilitation exercises, confer with the doctor and read about their medicine.

2014.11.03 | Malene Løvig Nielsen

Telemedicine is beneficial for patients who have undergone hip surgery. They can return home the day after the operation and achieve the same results with the support of telemedicine.

Telemedicine is beneficial for patients who have undergone hip surgery. They can return home the day after the operation and achieve the same results with the support of telemedicine.

Medical doctor and PhD student Martin Vesterby has carried out the study.

Medical doctor and PhD student Martin Vesterby has carried out the study.

Rehabilitation exercises in a comfortable homely environment work for hip surgery patients. Instead of spending several days in the hospital they can return home after only a single day and achieve the same results with the support of telemedicine. This is shown by the results of a new research study from Aarhus University carried out by medical doctor and PhD student Martin Vesterby at the Centre for Planned Surgery at Silkeborg Regional Hospital.

Here he selected 36 random hip patients who underwent a telemedicine solution to help them get through their operation and rehabilitation programme. He also selected 36 patients who would experience a normal operation and rehabilitation programme at the hospital and used them as a control group.

"Not only does the telemedicine solution mean that patients spend fewer days in a hospital bed, it also suggests that patients were less concerned about the operation and the whole process. Even though we had given them additional tasks and more responsibility," says Martin Vesterby and explains:

"The study also shows that they felt they had the training information needed so they were ready to themselves begin the rehabilitation at home. Also the people providing support for the patients found that their opportunities for helping were better because they had the telemedicine solution to lean on."

Animated films and video conferences on the TV guide

The patients selected to test the telemedecine solution connected a computer to their TV before the operation. Television was chosen as a media because the patient group was more comfortable navigating on a TV than on a computer. Furthermore, it was easier for patients to train in front of a television screen.

The solution includes an animation showing how a hip operation takes place and what a patient can expect to go through afterwards. The patient can find the basic information material, which is otherwise normally supplied as leaflets and brochures, with a voice over. There are videos of the daily challenges faced by patients who have undergone a hip operation such as getting out of bed or sitting down on a chair. And then there is information about medicine with photos of the packages and the tablets.

"All of this is information that is important for the patient and which can be found by turning on the TV," says Martin Vesterby.

On day two and day six after the operation the patients held a video consultation with a process coordinator, while a physiotherapist visited the patients at home on day three and further helped them with their rehabilitation.

Fewer expenses for the health sector

Martin Vesterby explains that the telemedicine solution is expensive to develop. The technology has to be produced, a physiotherapist has to visit the patient at home, additional advice must be provided about how to connect a computer to the TV etc. But Martin Vesterby assesses that it is still cheaper than the normal process of patient treatment:

"This is primarily due to the fact that a bed day in the hospital costs the healthcare system a great deal of money. Moreover, it was found that the patients who were not offered the telemedicine solution contacted the hospital several times after they returned home with queries. But our other patients could find the answer to these queries by navigating around their TV".

Further information

MD, PhD student Martin Vesterby
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine and
INNO-X Healthcare
martin@innox.dk
Tel.: +45 2026 7814

Research