Published 7/1/2012
Stuart J. Fischer, MD

Improving OrthoInfo.org

As the article by Drs. Krueger, Kirk, and Stinner notes, more patients are going online for patient information now than ever before. OrthoInfo.org is the largest source of orthopaedic patient information on the web. It is unique in that it is completely peer reviewed; most articles are written by Academy members and reviewed by a specialty section editor and an associate editor.

OrthoInfo.org aims to provide the most current and accurate orthopaedic information available and to reflect the current standard of orthopaedic practice. In 2011 alone, 83 new articles and features were posted to the site. The number of pictures and illustrations increased with each new posted article.

New rehabilitation exercise and conditioning handouts posted in 2011 have been well received by members. Separate exercise programs focus on the shoulder, knee, hip, spine, and foot and ankle.

New formats, such as Informed Patient Learning Modules and narrated clinical videos, have also been introduced. In the past year, Informed Patient modules on Total Knee Replacement, Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery, and Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction—developed in partnership with the Medical Liability Committee—have been added. With assistance from the Patient Education Committee, audiovisual programs are being added to the website. Video slideshows on Treatment Options for Low Back Pain and on Achilles Tendon Rupture are already available; videos on cast care, managing arthritis pain, and fragility fractures will be posted later this summer.

In addition, the Patient Education Committee is helping develop shorter videos on topics such as fracture healing and preventing complications after surgery.

This study indicates that OrthoInfo.org is well received by patients once they get there. However, it also shows that fewer patients know about it than we would like. Most patients find the site through search engines, rather than from a recommendation by orthopaedic surgeons. Academy members should consider OrthoInfo.org as a valuable resource to educate patients. They can link their own practice websites to OrthoInfo.org and will soon be able to license OrthoInfo.org content.

Stuart J. Fischer, MD, is associate editor for OrthoInfo.org and a member of the AAOS Now editorial board.