Provision of prehabilitation prior to total knee arthroplasty (TKA) through a digital mobile application is a novel concept. The primary aim of our research is to determine whether provision of prehabilitation through a mobile digital application impacts length of stay (LOS), requirement for inpatient rehabilitation and hospital-associated costs after TKA. Our study hypothesis is that a mobile digital application provides a low resource, cost effective method of delivering prehabilitation prior to TKA.
An observational, retrospective analysis was performed on a consecutive case series of 64 patients who underwent TKA by a single surgeon over a 21-month period. Pre operative Knee Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) were collected on all patients. The first group of patients (control) did not undergo prehabilitation, the subsequent group of patients (experimental) were offered prehabilitation through a mobile application called PhysiTrack. The experimental group were provided with progressive quadriceps and hamstring strengthening exercises, and calf and hamstring stretches. Exercises were automatically progressed after 2 weeks unless the patient requested otherwise or a physiotherapist clinically intervened. The non-compliance rate was 33% (n=11), after removing these patients from the analysis, 22 patients remained and these were age matched to 22 patients from the control group. Aside from the access to prehabilitation, all patients underwent TKA using identical surgical technique and peri-operative care regime. Length of stay data for inpatient care and rehabilitation were captured for all patients. Cost was calculated using the inpatient and rehabilitation costs provided by the hospital.
44 patients were included in our final analysis. Pre operative KOOS were collected for all of the experimental group and 18 (81%) of control group. These subscores were not statistically different (p>0.05) reflecting pre operative equivalence. The average inpatient length of stay was statistically different, being 5.04 days for the control group and 4.31 days for the experimental group (p=0.01). The decision for ongoing inpatient rehabilitation (after the immediate post-operative inpatient period) was not statistically different between the groups (chi-quared p=0.07). Rehabilitation length of stay was 9.12 days in the experimental and 10.85 days in the control group (p = 0.25). The remaining outcomes were statistically significant with total length of stay 11.95 days in the control and 7.63 days in the experimental group (p=0.01) and the total cost of the hospital stay $6362.55AUD for the control and $4145.17AUD for the experimental group (p=0.01). This represents an average saving $2217.38 per patient who participated in prehabiliation prior to surgery.
Our research shows a significant cost saving with this intervention, as measured by reduction in total length of stay in patients undergoing prehabilitation using PhysiTrack. To our knowledge, this is the first study that analyses the impact of a mobile application providing prehabilitation prior to TKA. Further work is required to determine the effect in a larger, randomised cohort of patients. Future studies should also be directed towards assessing the utility of digital prehabilitation on a per patient basis prior to total knee arthroplasty.