J&J to launch suite of orthopedics 'solutions' for outpatient joint replacement

Johnson's & Johnson's ($JNJ) DePuy is launching a comprehensive program to optimize outpatient joint replacement at U.S. ambulatory surgical centers and outpatient hospitals that includes physician training, an educational video for patients to facilitate postoperative recovery and software for outcomes data collection, all in an effort to increase patient satisfaction by getting them home faster.

The moves marks an industry-wide focus on patient engagement and empowerment through strategies like home healthcare. For instance, DePuy says the Patient Athlete video for preoperative planning and postoperative recovery is based on techniques developed at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute.

"Outpatient joint replacement is an emerging option for healthy, motivated patients that may help them safely recover more quickly, and in the comfort of their own homes, instead of in the hospital," said Scott Zellner the director of DePuy Synthes Advantage, in a statement. "When performed on the right patient, in the right setting, with trained staff, and leveraging innovative surgical techniques and implant technologies, these procedures have the potential to improve outcomes, speed recovery, manage costs, improve efficiency and increase patient satisfaction."

The program has been piloted in four cities. According to DePuy, 55% of patients said the program helped them recovery and reduced fear of surgery.

DePuy concedes that outpatient procedures are a small percentage of the more than 1 million hip and knee procedures performed in the U.S., but is encouraging more of them through an aggressive marketing program that includes the Patient Ambassador patient to patient referrals program, as well health kiosks and banner adds.

"Outpatient surgery is evolving into another layer of our healthcare model where patients are now requesting these outpatient procedures that are more value based with the goals of better outcomes, less complications and faster recovery periods," said Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Mark Gittins of the New Albany Surgical Center in Ohio, who's also a consultant for J&J. "In our Ambulatory Surgery Center we have implemented programs from DePuy Synthes Advantage such as CareSense (data collection software), Patient Ambassador (patient to patient referrals) and surgical tray optimization, which have helped to create additional efficiencies in our center and patients certainly benefit from this new era of care."

Fresh approaches are needed, for new, purely technical improvements to orthopedic joints are becoming harder to find and develop in the large joint arena, especially for artificial hips (though that's because they tend to work quite well). A paper in the BMJ found scant improvements in clinical outcomes from new hip and knee replacements.

And Ivan Delevic, the CEO of Fierce 15 company OrthoSensor, said in a prior interview that that revision rates have come down significantly as a result of new implants, but subjective patient satisfaction rates haven't lived up to the hype promised by next-generation artificial joints.

That's where holistic models like DePuy Synthes Advantage come into play. In addition to hip and knee replacement, it also covers shoulder surgeries, DePuy says.

Other orthopedics companies are experimenting with new sales and healthcare delivery strategies as well. Smith & Nephew ($SNN) is rolling out a repless sales program. Like DePuy's Advantage initiative, it is partly driven by hospital's desire for lower-cost solutions. Meanwhile, Stryker is moving in the opposite direction of Smith & Nephew, and publicly emphasizes the importance of having a large, specialized sales force.

- read the release
- here's more about the program