January 22, 2019

Automated text messages improve joint replacement outcomes

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor’s Note

An automated text messaging system increased patient engagement with home-based exercise and promoted faster recovery after knee and hip replacements, this study finds.

In this analysis of 159 patients (83 controls, 76 intervention) having total knee or hip replacement surgery, those receiving timely texts showed improvement in the following outcomes:

  • Fewer days on opioid pain medications (22.5 vs 32.4 days).
  • More time spent on home exercises per day (46.4 vs 37.7 minutes).
  • Greater knee range of motion (ROM) at 3 weeks after surgery (mean flexion, 101.2 vs 93.8); ROM at 6 weeks was equal between the two groups.
  • Higher VAS (visual analog scale) mood scores (7.5 vs 6.5).

The intervention patients also placed fewer telephone calls to the surgeon’s office (0.6 vs2.6), and there was a trend toward fewer emergency department visits.

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