By: 27 March 2017
Helping prepare patients for surgery

John Tiberi and Manish Shah talk to OPN about the benefits of using technology to prepare patients for surgery


Dr. Tiberi

John Tiberi is an orthopaedic surgeon at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, USA

Tell us about your background and education in the orthopaedic industry.

I graduated from Johns Hopkins, attended medical school at UCSD and completed an orthopaedic surgery residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. I did my fellowship in hip and knee replacement at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.


How does PeerWell help you engage with your patient’s health, and what benefit do your patients receive? 

When a patient is scheduled for surgery they are registered for PeerWell and a member of the team helps them download the app onto their phone or tablet. The patient receives a daily checklist of tasks that takes them about 5–10 minutes to complete. It covers nutrition, exercise, anxiety management, preparing their home environment and a range of other topics. Using PeerWell, patients are better prepared for their pre-op visit and surgery.


How can these types of ‘prehab’ programmes result in cost savings while providing better outcomes for your patients? 

Eighty per cent of my patients who are enrolled in PeerWell engage every week, so the platform has reduced the amount of time my staff spend answering questions and tracking patients. It’s too early to share exact numbers, but it does appear that there have been significant decreases in my patients’ length of stay, utilisation of home health and discharge to skilled nursing facilities.


What are some of the results or feedback you have received from patients enrolled in the platform? 

I wasn’t that surprised that better prepared patients have better outcomes. What I was surprised by is how many patients tell me that they love using the product. One patient told me: “The fact that you use this really makes me feel like you care.” Also, contrary to what I thought before using the product, some of my older patients are actually the most engaged.


What do you think the PreHab platform means for the future of orthopaedics?

Physicians are always going to be evaluated based on outcomes and patient satisfaction. Most solutions I come across add complexity to my work. PeerWell’s PreHab platform improves the care I provide and makes my day-to-day work life much easier.


Manish Shah

 Manish Shah is CEO and co-founder of PeerWell


How did you come up with the concept of the PeerWell app and who is it aimed at?  A few years ago my father had a knee replacement. I sat down with my parents to go through the pre-operative education materials he was given and after a short time all three of us were frustrated. I was shocked to find that we could get better directions on building an Ikea desk than we can on preparing for major surgery. I started PeerWell to make pre-operative preparation easy for seniors and for doctors’ offices. Our PreHab system is a fully automated ‘set it and forget it’ system that takes over when the patient is scheduled – so the doctor gets fewer calls to the office – and optimises patients for surgery who are more likely to be able to be discharged straight home.


What stage of development are you currently at?  The company is going into its third year and our PreHab platform is being used by patients across the globe. We recently launched our ReHab platform to complement PreHab and help patients with post-operative self-care.


Do you have plans to expand the platform into other care areas?  Pre-operative patient optimisation is beneficial across a range of surgeries. Our pipeline includes further extension of the platform across orthopaedics and other service lines such as cardiology.


How is the platform integrated into a hospital care system, and how can providers and patients request to use the technology?  There is no shortage of great ideas, but often the hardest part of using new technology is IT integration and managing clinical workflow. The best part about PeerWell is we have designed the system to eliminate both of these hurdles. Nothing about the system is triggered by the EMR so there is no heavy IT integration. The platform actually speeds up clinical workflow because we take work off of the doctor and staff’s plate. The entire system can be up and running in two weeks.


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