Digitalising hip and knee replacement surgery questionnaires

Digitalising hip and knee replacement surgery questionnaires
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New research finds that moving patient questionnaires about hip and knee replacements to a digital system could save hours of data collection time.

New research by the University of Exeter finds that modernising a paper-based patient questionnaire on outcomes of hip and knee replacement surgeries by utilising a personalised digital system could be time efficient by saving hours of data collection time without compromising accuracy.

The research team published their findings in BMJ Open.

What is the current hip and knee replacement survey?

The team modelled an alternative method to the current patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) questionnaire. Currently, patients who have undergone hip or knee replacement surgery are asked to complete the document to report how effective the procedure has been, and this method has been in place since 2009.

The PROMs programme costs an estimated £825,000 annually to deliver to hip and knee replacement patients. Its main aim is to provide patients with information about the best healthcare facilities for their procedures. The programme also motivates under-performing institutions to improve their services.

Despite its long service in healthcare, the programme process has faced criticism for being lengthy and paper-based, leading to low completion rates and losing vital data. Furthermore, only half of the data submitted was complete and suitable for further analysis, whilst the database remains under-utilised.

Creating a digital system

An international research team discovered that using a modernised questionnaire technique called computerised adaptive testing can significantly reduce the time it takes for patients to complete the survey.

The method uses algorithms to select the appropriate questions for the patients who experienced hip or knee replacement surgery. This significantly reduces the number of questions for each patient without compromising precision and increasing survey uptake. The PROMs survey typically encompasses 12 questions; however, this new algorithm shows four questions required at 90% precision and two questions at 80% precision.

Lead author Jon Evans, NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer at the University of Exeter, said: “Collecting data from patients who have undergone hip and knee replacements has the potential to be hugely valuable, as patient reports are one of the best measures on whether they are successful. However, the current system is ineffective and absorbs tens of thousands of hours of data collection. Our research shows that moving to a digital system would be more efficient and effective for everyone involved, and this could now be implemented across the NHS.”



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