By: 27 November 2020
New advancements in virtual care help BC patients better prep for surgery during the pandemic

Virtual care technology from Curatio and Cloud DX help boost patient engagement pre and post joint surgery laying the pathway for accelerated recovery times.

Virtual visits with healthcare teams have become the norm during this pandemic. Now, a new initiative spearheaded by digital health technology providers Curatio and CloudDX in partnership with Penticton Regional Hospital (Interior Health) and supported by experts from the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University is showing that virtual care can be an invaluable way for patients to more effectively prepare for challenging surgeries.

Called Stronger Together, with investment from the Digital Technology Supercluster, the pilot project helps patients preparing for joint replacement surgery through a week-by-week evidence-based virtual care programme designed to improve patient health literacy, confidence and outcomes through a combination of 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.

The programme is not only finding favour with the patients in the Interior Okanagan-based pilot group (who report 92 per cent satisfaction). It’s pointing toward improved patient outcomes.

“Surgery is a team sport. There are multiple players in preparing a patient and the patient needs to drive that process as well,” says Michelle Scheepers, Interior Health anaesthetist and one of the pilot project’s clinical leads. Dr. Scheepers also serves as a Quality Improvement Adviser with BC’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.’

“Joint replacement surgery is common but a very difficult surgery to recover from, and this programme helped prepare me for surgery by ensuring I looked after my mental and physical health, both before and after the surgery,” says Barbara, another patient participant.

With a successful pilot 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.