Northwell implements new software for surgery patients

Joe Nikic

Northwell Health announced last week that it would implement a new video-based software platform that allows physicians to better monitor their patients after certain orthopedic surgeries.

Northwell, which is the state’s largest health care provider, announced in a news release last Friday that it has signed a two-year agreement with Force Therapeutics for the new software.

According to the health care company, the technology links doctors with their patients who have undergone knee or hip replacement surgeries and fracture surgeries to “improve outcomes, reduce hospital readmission, increase the number of patients being discharged home as opposed to rehabilitation and decrease health care costs.”

“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 Dr. Giles Scuderi, 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.”

The software is activated once a patient is scheduled for surgery and connects orthopedic surgeons and their care teams with patients pre- and post-operatively.

According to Northwell, the software allows the health care provider 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.”

The software also allows for patients to send photos to their doctors if there are any issues, which can be responded to by a staff member either scheduling an immediate appointment or just responding to the concern. It can be accessed by a computer, smart phone or tablet.

Northwell and Force Therapeutics performed a nine-month pilot project to track the software system last year, Northwell said, which was used by more than 200 Medicare patients and orthopedic surgeons at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan and Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Hospital.

Currently, seven Northwell hospitals are using the software, with 1,300 patients enrolled in the program, according to Northwell.

Last April, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services launched its Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement initiative, which holds hospitals that perform total joint replacement surgeries responsible for costs and quality of care given to Medicare “fee-for-service” patients for 90 days after the procedure.

“Managing orthopedic care inside the hospital is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Zenobia Brown, 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.”

“The software allows patients and the caregiving team to partner on a level not available to us before,” Brown said.

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