Northwell Health Aims to Improve Orthopedic Surgery Outcomes by Using New Software Technologies that Enhance Patient Experience

A joint replacement surgery patient logs into the Force software program and sets his personal recovery goals.

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. The technology connects physicians and care teams with patients who have undergone knee and hip replacement surgery as well as fracture surgery to improve outcomes, reduce hospital readmission, increase the number of patients being discharged home as opposed to rehabilitation and decrease health care costs.

The Force software, which can be accessed by computer, smart phone or tablet, is activated as soon as patients are scheduled for surgery. The program connects orthopedic surgeons and their care teams with patients pre- and post-operatively.  The innovative software allows communication with patients and health care providers to monitor patients with real-time alerts, communicate via secured messaging and gives patients an individualized checklist to track pain levels, appointments, video-based physical therapy and other key components of treatment. If needed, patients are able to send photos of an incision to their doctors if they experience an issue. 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,” said Giles Scuderi, MD, vice president of Northwell’s orthopedic service line. “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.”

Last year, Northwell Health and Force Therapeutics carried out a nine-month pilot project 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.

“Managing orthopedic care inside the hospital is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Zenobia Brown, MD, medical director of Northwell Health Solutions. “Under the bundle payments, low hospital readmission rates link both to overall patient satisfaction and overall cost of care,” adding, “The software allows patients and the care-giving team to partner on a level not available to us before.”

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. 

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About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 21 hospitals and over 550 outpatient facilities. We care for more than two million people annually in the metro New York area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 61,000 employees – 15,000+ nurses and nearly 3,400 physicians, including nearly 2,700 members of Northwell Health Physician Partners -- are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and the School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. And we offer health insurance through CareConnect. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit Northwell.edu.

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Betty Olt                          
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