Text message system may improve patient outcomes after surgery, study finds

For patients who had a total hip or knee arthroplasty procedure, using a text-messaging service bot for patient education may improve clinical outcomes, a study published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found.

The researchers performed a randomized controlled trial of patients who underwent total hip or knee arthroplasty. Eighty-three patients were assigned to the control group who received a traditional perioperative education program and 76 patients in the intervention group who received the text-messaging service. The researchers primarily analyzed the time patients participated in in-home exercises to measure outcomes. 

The researchers found patients in the intervention group exercised for 46.4 minutes per day on average compared to 37.7 minutes for the control group.

They also found the intervention group had improved mood and placed fewer telephone calls to surgeons' offices.

"Texting patients digestible amounts of information relating to their care after hip and knee replacement can have a number of positive effects on their recovery," the researchers told Healio. "We observed that patients enrolled in their surgeon's chatbot stopped their opiate medications sooner, spent more time on their home therapy, were more satisfied, visited the emergency room less and placed fewer calls to their surgeon's office."

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