Coordination tech enhances care at The Steadman Clinic
The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado, is a world-renown orthopedic practice, attracting top surgeons in their respective fields and providing care to professional athletes, Olympians and non-athlete patients alike.
The clinic faced a number of challenges that it was looking to address with a digital care management platform.
“The first was just moving into the 21st century and the digital age,” said Mark Ryan, rehabilitation coordinator for Dr. Marc Philippon at The Steadman Clinic. “It is hard to call yourself state of the art, ahead of the curve or cutting edge if you’re not using digital technology.”
He added: “Handing out paper rehab programs to patients that would either be lost and never used or worn out and tattered if used daily, led to reduced compliance by our patients and increased workload on staff if they needed a replacement copy.”
Another challenge for the clinic was compliance. How was the clinic monitoring compliance with the home exercise program? In short, it was not.
“We did not know who was doing the exercises, how often they were doing them, and we were not providing effective tools to improve the quality of the exercise sessions,” Ryan explained. “Another limitation in a paper copy was a lack of customization for the patient. It did not allow flexibility for either faster or slower progression through the rehabilitation program.”
And lastly, the clinic lacked an effective communication platform where the patient and medical teams, including affiliate physical therapists outside of the clinic, could communicate in an efficient, timely manner.
So Steadman Clinic evaluated a digital platform from health IT vendor AMP Recover. It saw an opportunity to address all of the aforementioned challenges as the platform provided easy access to the rehabilitation protocol either online or through a patient’s mobile phone, Ryan said.
“It provided real-time feedback as to who, when and how often each patient logged into the platform, viewed their program, and completed their program,” he said. “It allowed for customization of any protocol with a few clicks of a keyboard. And patients and their medical team could communicate through the platform either directly with each other or the whole team.”
There is a variety of care coordination health IT vendors on the market today, including Ensocare, eQHealth, Greenway Health, GSI Health, Imprivata, Optum, pMD and VitalHealth Software.
MEETING THE CHALLENGE
With the feedback of a few select patients, AMP Recover was able to adapt their previous performance platform to work in the rehabilitation world.
“Initially setting up a series of video sessions to record our rehabilitation exercises, we laid the groundwork to build our programs of rehabilitation for various body parts and surgery procedures, and finally building phases and full protocols,” Ryan explained. “The next stage of the platform is to integrate it with our EHR to keep one complete medical record.”
One example of results to date: Over the course of one year, 542 hip patients were invited to use the new digital platform. Of those patients, 86% activated their profiles and 63% were active on a weekly basis.
“We have had the most success with the communication between the patients and the surgeon’s staff to keep the rehabilitation progression moving forward,” Ryan said. “The number of patients that are leaving notes about their tolerance to the exercise programs continues to grow. And we are very pleased with the percentage of patients that have set up and use the platform on a daily/weekly basis.”
ADVICE FOR OTHERS
“It is important to recognize how the current population receives and uses information provided to them,” Ryan advised. “We have found that having our rehabilitation program at patients’ fingertips, clearly defined, and with helpful support such as videos and exercise descriptions, has increased compliance and improved execution of the plan.”
The Steadman Clinic uses many outside rehabilitation partners (affiliate physical therapy clinics) around the country and across the globe, and having a central online platform ties everyone together to provide the best possible medical care, he added.
“There is no doubt that remote treatments are a big part of the future of healthcare, and having an online platform to provide high-quality information to patients will play a key role in improving clinical outcomes.”