Virtual visits with doctors and specialists have become the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, a new initiative spearheaded by Vancouver-based digital health technology provider Curatio is showing that virtual care can be an invaluable way for patients to more effectively prepare for challenging surgeries.
In partnership with Penticton Regional Hospital (Interior Health) and supported by experts from UBC and SFU, Stronger Together helps patients preparing for joint replacement surgery through a week-by-week evidence-based virtual care program designed to improve patient health literacy, confidence and outcomes.
So far the program has been a success with the Okanagan-based patient group reporting a 92% satisfaction score.
Stronger Together combines peer-to-peer social support, secure at-home remote monitoring of key vitals via Cloud DX Connected Health Kit, and virtual one-on-one coaching from nurses and experts in Curatio’s social health network.
“Surgery is a team sport. There are multiple players in preparing a patient and the patient needs to drive that process as well,” says Dr. Michelle Scheepers, Interior Health Anesthesiologist and one of the pilot project’s clinical leads.
Dr. Scheepers also serves as a Quality Improvement Adviser with B.C.’s Interior Health. I think it [Stronger Together] fills a gap with regards to the current health care situation globally… And they [patients] became a lot more interested in their own health… and having the peer support. I think the peer support from use is huge.
“Stronger Together helped me fill in the unknowns from the date my knee surgery date was determined right up to my actual operation,” says patient participant Ted Hancock. “The resources and information it provided on how to prepare myself physically, mentally for surgery and what to expect when I returned home for recovery were invaluable.”
With the successful arthroplasty project completed, Stronger Together is moving forward to expand offerings to support diverse patient populations across Canada including in the areas of cardiovascular, stroke, mental health, COVID-19 support and more.
The Digital Technology Supercluster co-invested $1.4 million into the Stronger Together project in June 2020.