Implementing mHealth-Enabled Integrated Care for Complex Chronic Patients With Osteoarthritis Undergoing Primary Hip or Knee Arthroplasty: Prospective, Two-Arm, Parallel Trial

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Colomina, Jordi
Drudis, Reis
Torra, Montserrat
Pallisó i Folch, Francesc
Massip, Mireia
Vargiu, Eloisa
Nadal Braque, Núria
Fuentes Botargues, Araceli
Ortega Bravo, Marta
Miralles, Felip
Other authors
CONNECARE-Lleida Group
cc-by (c)Authors, 2021
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Background: Osteoarthritis is a disabling condition that is often associated with other comorbidities. Total hip or knee arthroplasty is an effective surgical treatment for osteoarthritis when indicated, but comorbidities can impair their results by increasing complications and social and economic costs. Integrated care (IC) models supported by eHealth can increase efficiency through defragmentation of care and promote patient-centeredness. Objective: This study aims to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of implementing a mobile health (mHealth)–enabled IC model for complex chronic patients undergoing primary total hip or knee arthroplasty. Methods: As part of the Horizon 2020 Personalized Connected Care for Complex Chronic Patients (CONNECARE) project, a prospective, pragmatic, two-arm, parallel implementation trial was conducted in the rural region of Lleida, Catalonia, Spain. For 3 months, complex chronic patients undergoing total hip or knee arthroplasty and their caregivers received the combined benefits of the CONNECARE organizational IC model and the eHealth platform supporting it, consisting of a patient self-management app, a set of integrated sensors, and a web-based platform connecting professionals from different settings, or usual care (UC). We assessed changes in health status (12-item short-form survey [SF-12]), unplanned visits and admissions during a 6-month follow-up, and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio. Results: A total of 29 patients were recruited for the mHealth-enabled IC arm, and 30 patients were recruited for the UC arm. Both groups were statistically comparable for baseline characteristics, such as age; sex; type of arthroplasty; and Charlson index, American Society of Anesthesiologists classification, Barthel index, Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index, and Pfeiffer mental status questionnaire scores. Patients in both groups had significant increases in the SF-12 physical domain and total SF-12 score, but differences in differences between the groups were not statistically significant. IC patients had 50% fewer unplanned visits (P=.006). Only 1 hospital admission was recorded during the follow-up (UC arm). The IC program generated savings in different cost scenarios, and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio demonstrated cost-effectiveness. Conclusions: Chronic patients undergoing hip or knee arthroplasty can benefit from the implementation of patient-centered mHealth-enabled IC models aimed at empowering patients and facilitating transitions from specialized hospital care to primary care. Such models can reduce unplanned contacts with the health system and reduce overall health costs, proving to be cost-effective. Overall, our findings support the notion of system-wide cross-organizational care pathways supported by mHealth as a successful way to implement IC for patients undergoing elective surgery.
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Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), 2021, vol. 23, núm. 9