Northwell Health and New York-based Force Therapeutics have signed a two-year agreement to implement a customized, video-based software platform to allow better monitoring and communication between patients and physicians after certain orthopedic surgeries. As a result, patients who have knee and hip replacement surgery as well as fracture surgery will be able to connect to physicians and care teams via computer, smartphone or tablet — all in an effort to improve outcomes, reduce hospital readmission, increase the number of patients being discharged home as opposed to rehabilitation and, ultimately, decrease health care costs.
The Force software is activated as soon as patients are scheduled for surgery; it enables secure communication between patients and healthcare providers, monitoring of patients with real-time alerts, and creates an individualized checklist for patients to track pain levels, appointments, video-based physical therapy and other key components of treatment. Patients are also able to send photos of an incision to their doctors if they experience an issue; while on the other hand, staff can respond quickly and either reassure patients or schedule patients for immediate appointments, helping to avoid a trip to the emergency room.
"We see immense potential in the applications of the software platform because we can quickly address many of the main causes of complications before, during and after joint replacement surgery," Giles Scuderi, MD, vice president of Northwell's orthopedic service line, said in a statement. "Force is a convenient way for patients to stay in touch with the orthopedic care team between visits and aims to improve quality and outcomes and reduce cost."
The agreement comes on the heels of last year's nine-month pilot project that was designed to track the new software program with more than 200 Medicare patients and orthopedic surgeons from Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan and Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Hospital in Long Island.
With the launch last April of the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) initiative, hospitals that perform total joint replacement surgery are responsible for both the cost and overall quality of care delivered to Medicare fee-for-service patients for 90 days after their procedures. Known as a "bundled payment system," hospitals are accountable for all costs incurred during the entire episode of a patient's care — from administration, surgery, inpatient hospital stay, rehabilitation and other care after a patient leaves the hospital.
To date, seven Northwell hospitals are using the software platform and 1,300 patients are enrolled in the program. The technology is expanding to other Northwell Hospitals and orthopedic practices.