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This eHealth program is hip and happening


A team of ECU researchers is hoping to significantly improve health outcomes for patients undergoing hip surgery.

Hip surgery patients are trialling an innovative online program developed by ECU researchers to streamline their recovery.

The School of Nursing and Midwifery is working in collaboration with a multidisciplinary research team at Hollywood Private Hospital to conduct a randomised control trial to compare the outcomes and cost of using an eHealth program with standard care.

‘My Hip Journey’ was developed by a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, researchers and consumer representatives.

The online program delivers resources including exercise videos, fact sheets, forms and activities.

Patients can access the program any time using personal electronic devices such as tablets or smart phones.

Patients are encouraged to log in daily from two weeks prior to surgery to 30 days after surgery. They can invite family members or carers and community health professionals to also log into the program to learn about their care.

Better than burdensome booklets

Dr Rosemary Saunders, ECU‑Hollywood Private Hospital Research Fellow, who is leading the research, says accessibility is key to the program.

“It may be difficult for some patients to digest a broad range of information in a single booklet,” she explains, “whereas patients using My Hip Journey can access relevant information via the eHealth program as they move along their journey, with information provided in text, video and images”.

Patients can communicate with the health professional team at the hospital via the platform and can access the program for up to 12 months post‑surgery.

Recruitment into the trial commenced in January 2018 and initial results will be available in December 2018.

“If the program is successful, it can easily be adapted to suit other orthopaedic surgeries,” Dr Saunders says.

“Additionally, if found to be effective, the research group will conduct a cost-benefit analysis to understand whether it is feasible for hospitals to invest in the program.

“Building a relationship and collaborating with an innovative industry partner in Hollywood Private Hospital (through Ramsay Health Care) has provided an opportunity for the research to be practical and to have an impact on the broader community.

“It has opened opportunities for research in a number of other areas and is helping to build future research capacity.”

Success through collaboration

Karen Gullick, Director of Clinical Services at Hollywood Private Hospital, highly values the collaboration with the school and sees it as an important relationship for the future.

“We’re excited to launch this trial and hope the program proves to be a valuable tool for patients undergoing hip replacement surgery,” Ms Gullick says.

“We look forward to receiving patients’ feedback and learning if this type of program enhances their experience.

“Ideally we hope to improve outcomes and create a smoother process for our patients.

“In the long term, we would like the program to be an example of best practice and for the My Hip Journey to be rolled out nationally.”

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