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2021 Mark Coventry Award: Use of a smartphone-based care platform after primary partial and total knee arthroplasty: a prospective randomized controlled trial

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The purpose is to determine the non-inferiority of a smartphone-based exercise educational care management system after primary knee arthroplasty compared with a traditional in-person physiotherapy rehabilitation model.


A multicentre prospective randomized controlled trial was conducted evaluating the use of a smartphone-based care management system for primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and partial knee arthroplasty (PKA). Patients in the control group (n = 244) received the respective institution’s standard of care with formal physiotherapy. The treatment group (n = 208) were provided a smartwatch and smartphone application. Early outcomes assessed included 90-day knee range of movement, EuroQoL five-dimension five-level score, Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score for Joint Replacement (KOOS JR) score, 30-day single leg stance (SLS) time, Time up and Go (TUG) time, and need for manipulation under anaesthesia (MUA).


Overall, 90-day mean flexion was not significantly different between the control (121° (SD 11.7°)) and treatment groups (121o; p = 0.559); 90-day mean SLS was 22.7 seconds (SD 9.8) in controls and 24.3 seconds (SD 20.8) in treatment (p = 0.519); 90-day mean TUG times were 10.1 seconds (SD 4.8) in control and 9.3 seconds (SD 3.3) in treatment (p = 0.139). Mean KOOS JR scores were significantly different between control group (73.6 (SD 13.4)) and treatment group (70.4 (SD 12.6); p = 0.026). MUAs were performed in nine (3.7%) patients in the control group and four (1.9%) in the treatment group (p = 0.398). Physiotherapy was performed by 230 (94.4%) of control group and 123 (59.3%) of treatment group (p < 0.001). There were no significant differences between groups in postoperative urgent care visits, or readmissions within 90 days, with significantly fewer emergency department visits in the treatment group (16 (8.2%) vs five (2.5%), p = 0.014).


The use of the smartwatch/smartphone care platform demonstrated non-inferiority of clinically significant outcomes to traditional care models, while requiring significantly less postoperative physiotherapy and fewer emergency department visits. This platform could aid in decreasing postoperative costs, while improving patient engagement and communication with the healthcare team.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2021;103-B(6 Supple A):3–12.

Correspondence should be sent to David A. Crawford. E-mail:

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