The Guide to Orthopaedic Surgery apps help surgeons enhance their patients' understanding of orthopaedic conditions and treatments. A free trial is available through June 30, 2016.


Published 5/1/2016
Jeffrey P. Beckenbaugh, DO

Improve Patient Understanding and Satisfaction with New Academy Tools

Apps let surgeons give patients customized, illustrated presentations of knee and hip procedures
The Academy recently introduced new point-of-care software that helps physicians explain musculoskeletal problems and procedures to patients. The Guide to Orthopaedic Surgery apps feature easy-to-use visual tools to help patients better understand their diagnosis and treatment options. Because patients who are more informed are more likely to follow their physicians' treatment plans, these new apps can help promote recovery and improve patient satisfaction.

The Guide to Orthopaedic Surgery apps are designed to be used by every team member in the practice. They are Mac and Windows desktop-friendly, and can be loaded onto exam room desktops or used on iPads. With your entire team sharing the app content with patients, you can be confident that patients are provided a consistent message throughout their care experience.

Quality assured
The three content areas currently available are ACL reconstruction, total knee replacement, and total hip replacement. Each was developed from a collaboration between the AAOS Patient Education Committee and a medical multimedia company.

All content within the apps was vetted through the committee, as well as through members of the OrthoInfo Editorial Board, ensuring that the information shared with patients is of the highest quality. Like OrthoInfo articles, the app content was reviewed with the individuality of different orthopaedic practices in mind: It is specific enough to be very helpful to patients, but not so specific that it can conflict with individual practice protocols.

Visual engagement
The visual content provided with the apps helps patients quickly understand the relevant anatomy, pathology, and treatment options associated with their diagnosis, with these offerings:

  • 3D rotatable models: This section of the app gives you the ability to present the regional anatomy in specific layers, from superficial tissues to bony structures.
  • Illustrations: Static anatomic pictures provide your patients with various examples of normal and abnormal structures.
  • Animations: Short, high-quality animations provide simple, step-by-step overviews of surgical procedures.
  • Video programs: In-depth video programs combine surgical procedure animations with diagnostic information, imaging examples, and recovery content. Additionally, you will find discussion of risks, benefits, and alternatives to the procedure, making the video a useful enhancement to your informed consent program, if desired.

Especially valuable is the app feature that enables you to place links to the animations and videos on your practice website. Patients can go home, access your website, and watch the videos with their families. You can also share the videos in the exam room, adding value to your patients' experience as they are waiting for appointments.

Customizable patient education
It is not just the exceptional visual content that makes these apps so useful; it's the tools that allow clinicians to annotate and expand on the images to develop education individualized to the patient. As Joel Mayerson, MD, chair of the Patient Education Committee notes, "the apps allow surgeons to create customized, user-friendly preoperative teaching aids for orthopaedic patients." At your disposal are the following tools:

  • Drawing and text: On both 3D models and static illustrations, you can use a drawing tool to demonstrate specific injuries unique to the patient, and add text boxes to explain or label the drawings.
  • Notes: In addition to drawing and labeling images, you can add notes to further explain diseases, injuries, or treatments. Write an individual note during an appointment, or select from a library of notes that you have previously developed and saved within the app. You will build an extensive library of custom captions that you can add to any illustration you have made for an individual patient.
  • Import: Bring copies of a patient's radiographic or other imaging studies into the app, then use the drawing, text, and notes tools to further explain the images.
  • Export: You can easily share with your patients all of the documents that you have created by exporting them, saving them, emailing them, or printing them.

Another option is to edit the documents in custom publications software to create an entire education packet for the patient. The apps provide endless possibilities to create custom educational and informational products for your patients. Depending on your electronic medical record or office structure, these documents can be set up to qualify for meaningful use requirements.

Patients can use the documents you create to talk about their diagnosis and treatment options with their families, which helps to ensure their adherence to your treatment plan.

The Guide to Orthopaedic Surgery apps give you the power to engage your patients in their care using first-rate visual content, create custom publications for patient education, and enhance your website presentation of these common orthopaedic conditions and treatments.

You can use the app content and tools that are helpful in your practice and leave the rest for future use. Each part can serve as a stand-alone educational and/or clinical tool.

Jeffrey P. Beckenbaugh, DO, is a member of the AAOS Patient Education Committee and specializes in hip and knee preservation and reconstructive surgery at Olmsted Medical Center in Rochester, Minn.

Try the "Guide to Orthopaedic Surgery" apps at no cost through June 30, 2016. Contact AAOS customer service for more information.