Geisinger improves orthopedic outcomes and length of stay through telehealth integration

April 30, 2019

The Department of Orthopedics at Geisinger has expanded integration of the technology Force Therapeutics into perioperative care.  For three years, the system has been used to deliver education, communication and monitoring to patients undergoing hip and knee surgeries.

Throughout their care, patients are provided with timely exercise and educational videos, prompts and forms to collect information on their progress, and a portal to communicate with their clinical teams. Over 70 percent of eligible Geisinger patients have successfully completed the Force virtual care program, a total of 1,750 patients to date.

In a recent update, the Orthopedic Department has now become the first to integrate the information collected into the patient health record in Epic. This facilitates communication between providers and patients. The results have impacted important metrics including a decrease in hospital length of stay of 30 percent, a 56 percent reduction in skilled nursing facility utilization and an 18 percent reduction in readmissions.

EHC NOTE: The findings from Geisinger reinforce the beneficial effects we first discussed here a few months ago in a study from Rush Medical Center where electronic communication also facilitated pre and postoperative care and improved results. While the reported results from Geisinger are more dramatic both studies reinforce the potential for technology to support perioperative outcomes. Interestingly, the Rush study communicated through automated texting and “video bots” designed by the surgeons, while Geisinger partnered with a commercial entity. Whether a homegrown or an “off-the-shelf” solution is best will likely require evaluation by each individual facility or health system. To get a better understanding of the postoperative components of the Force Therapeutics tool utilized at Geisinger, readers can view a brief video here.