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New physiotherapy platform for knee replacement surgery

The activateTKR app
Photo: The activateTKR app
Researchers are trialling an innovative knee replacement surgery app and portal designed to assist patients with their pre-surgery preparation and rehabilitation.

The activateTKR digital platform, which features a smartphone app, wearable activity tracker and portal, aims to boost patients’ access and adherence to rehabilitation, improving their recovery and health outcomes.

The app provides patients with physiotherapy demonstration videos, pre-surgery checklists, reminders and supportive information in text, video and audio.

The wearable activity tracker encourages and monitors patient exercise, tracks sleep, and enables patients to self-monitor their progress.

Patient data links to a portal where clinicians can create tailored, individual physiotherapy programs and monitor patient progress in real-time.
CSIRO activateTKR project leader Dr Sazzad Hussain said the technology platform is designed to assist patients to prepare for their surgery and encourages patients to complete their rehabilitation program.

Dr Hussain said physiotherapists will be able to monitor patients’ functional improvement and also their compliance with the program.

“The patients start the program four weeks before surgery and they get themselves prepared, and they go off and have the surgery and then do the 12 week program,” he said.

“With the clinical portal, the physiotherapist is looking at the compliance - so are they actually doing the physiotherapy program that they’ve configured?

“And they may not be doing the physiotherapy program as expected, there could be a reason so they can look at the data, look at the steps and look at the sleep quality and the pain score.

“They can get a sense of a reason - why that may be the case, but they can also call the patient to say - it seems like you’re not complying well with your physiotherapy program, is there something that is going wrong?

“This is important because often not doing the exercises correctly or properly may lead to other complications, for example it can lead to some infection.”

Dr Hussain said the initiative is now being trialled with up to 300 patients across six hospitals in Australia, comparing the recovery of patients who receive the normal standard of care against those who receive the normal standard of care plus the digital platform.

“Then we will see, comparing with the controlled patients different measures such as the clinical measures, behavioural outcome, we are also looking at economic outcome, service delivery satisfaction, and all of those measures will tell us how the technology platform has improved patient outcome and aspects such as costs and service delivery.”

Dr Hussain said the app will be an evidence-based tool for clinicians and their patients.

“We want to say that this app has a certain level of clinical efficacy or has a certain level of patient outcome that it can achieve and it’s scientifically proven.”

The activateTKR platform is being developed in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices.


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Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords