Hunters Hill Private Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care


New trial to ease pain for surgical patients

A new medical trial, supported by the Ramsay Hospital Research Foundation, is designed to improve outcomes for patients who have had knee or spinal surgery with standardised rehabilitation.

An estimated 550,000 elective surgical procedures are performed each year in Australia for musculoskeletal conditions and one in seven of these operations is for either osteoarthritis of the knee or lower back pain.

However, despite the prevalence of these surgeries there is a lack of standardised remote care in the aftermath of surgery, which can significantly vary patient outcomes.

The PATHway trial will use digital technology to monitor patient symptoms over a period of 12 months and provide health coaching, allowing patients to be treated remotely rather than inside a hospital.

“It’s critical that we look at different ways that will allow people to get back the function that they need following those major surgeries,” PATHway Chief Investigator, Professor David Hunter said.

Researchers will use a fit bit to track activity levels and sleep, a program to help prescribe exercise and two separate devices which will assess knee motion and posture.

228 inpatient participants will be recruited for the trial, starting in early 2019. They will include both knee and spinal surgical patients.

They’ll undergo testing at three Ramsay Health Care sites, including Lawrence Hargrave Private Hospital, Hunters Hill Private Hospital and Mt Wilga Private Hospital.

It is expected the proposed recovery pathway included in this trial will deliver a standardised remote rehabilitation program, which will be more effective in improving pain, mobility and function in people who’ve underdone spinal or knee surgery.

“Everybody’s talking about how technology is disrupting the workforce. This may be another situation where technology could be used to facilitate recovery remotely, rather than being done face-to-face,” Professor Hunter said.