BACKGROUND: Recent technological developments such as wearable sensors and tablets with a mobile internet connection hold promise for providing electronic health home-based programs with remote coaching for patients following total hip arthroplasty. It can be hypothesized that such a home-based rehabilitation program can offer an effective alternative to usual care.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a home-based rehabilitation program driven by a tablet app and remote coaching for patients following total hip arthroplasty.
METHODS: Existing data of two studies were combined, in which patients of a single-arm intervention study were matched with historical controls of an observational study. Patients aged 18-65 years who had undergone total hip arthroplasty as a treatment for primary or secondary osteoarthritis were included. The intervention consisted of a 12-week home-based rehabilitation program with video instructions on a tablet and remote coaching (intervention group). Patients were asked to do strengthening and walking exercises at least 5 days a week. Data of the intervention group were compared with those of patients who received usual care (control group). Effectiveness was measured at four moments (preoperatively, and 4 weeks, 12 weeks, and 6 months postoperatively) by means of functional tests (Timed Up & Go test and the Five Times Sit-to Stand Test) and self-reported questionnaires (Hip disability and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score [HOOS] and Short Form 36 [SF-36]). Each patient of the intervention group was matched with two patients of the control group. Patient characteristics were summarized with descriptive statistics. The 1:2 matching situation was analyzed with a conditional logistic regression. Effect sizes were calculated by Cohen d.
RESULTS: Overall, 15 patients of the intervention group were included in this study, and 15 and 12 subjects from the control group were matched to the intervention group, respectively. The intervention group performed functional tests significantly faster at 12 weeks and 6 months postoperatively. The intervention group also scored significantly higher on the subscales "function in sport and recreational activities" and "hip-related quality of life" of HOOS, and on the subscale "physical role limitations" of SF-36 at 12 weeks and 6 months postoperatively. Large effect sizes were found on functional tests at 12 weeks and at 6 months (Cohen d=0.5-1.2), endorsed by effect sizes on the self-reported outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results clearly demonstrate larger effects in the intervention group compared to the historical controls. These results imply that a home-based rehabilitation program delivered by means of internet technology after total hip arthroplasty can be more effective than usual care.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03846063; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03846063 and German Registry of Clinical Trials DRKS00011345; https://tinyurl.com/yd32gmdo.