Patients at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital benefit from web-based care program
Patients having hip replacement surgery at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital in Brisbane are among the first in Australia to benefit from new online health care technology which boosts rehabilitation after surgery.
Orthopaedic surgeon Associate Professor Patrick Weinrauch, in collaboration with the Allied Health and Nursing staff at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital and SHI Global, has successfully implemented a web-based care program called Healthlnx that utilises iPads, smartphones or computer devices to educate and guide patients through their pre-operative and post-operative rehabilitation. More than 130 patients have been treated using the technology.
“Using the Healthlnx technology platform enables us to deliver a wide variety of educational material to assist patients through all stages of their preparation and recovery,” Dr Weinrauch said.
Patients undergoing hip replacement surgery take part in a nine-week online program. The first three weeks includes pre-surgery information, preparatory exercises, a virtual theatre tour, advice from the anaesthetist and practical information about how to prepare for upcoming surgery. The six-week post-surgery component begins in the hospital — patients are able to login to their online program using iPads provided to them in the ward.
“Physiotherapists in the ward can use the technology as an additional tool to assist them in educating patients on how to best perform their exercises. The flexible and progressive post-discharge exercise program ensures better continuity and standardisation of care. Healthlnx also provides an easily accessible resource library for patients, including information relating to wound care, post-operative precautions and even smoking and dietary advice,” he said.
Dr Weinrauch said embracing technology and tailoring care plans for patients through the Healthlnx platform has improved patient understanding and compliance, resulting in less anxiety and a better quality of recovery for patients.
“The Healthlnx program assists patients who are often nervous before surgery and relatively immobile for the first six weeks after their surgery. In the post-discharge phase, it allows for us to provide care extending beyond traditional physical location and time constraints,” Dr Weinrauch said. In particular, patients in remote areas who experience difficulty accessing post-operative physiotherapy can significantly benefit from using this technology, he added.