Prepare now for better results later — Dr. John Tiberi on patient education

Written by Megan Wood | February 01, 2017 | Print  |

Preparing patients for orthopedic surgery deserves credence as a critical component of a successful surgery.

"We are always focusing on how our outcomes can be better. I firmly believe preparation you put in before surgery dramatically affects results," says John Tiberi, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Los Angeles-based Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic.


Dr. Tiberi highlights five focus areas for surgery preparation:


1. Home environment preparation: Patients should modify their homes to be as safe as possible. Dr. Tiberi notes patients will have more than enough time to prepare the environment if undergoing elective surgery.


2. Exercise: Data supports the idea that preoperative conditions can boost orthopedic patients' likelihood of experiencing good outcomes.


3. Nutritional status: Diet plays a part in the body's ability to heal as well as impacts the immune system.


4. Condition management: Managing chronic conditions well is an essential part of a successful surgery.


5. Mental resiliency: The recovery process may negatively affect patients, so it is imperative physicians provide information on treatment progress to reduce anxiety.


"We are realizing more and more how important preoperative preparation is and how that affects outcomes," says Dr. Tiberi. "We think that these are all things patients should be doing to optimize their outcomes."


Dr. Tiberi, who specializes in performing hip and knee replacements, has seen this theory transform to reality, especially for patients who elect to undergo surgeries.


"Patient education is critical because, despite the fact that I specialize in these surgeries and do them all the time, this is the only time the patient has ever done this," he explains. Empowering patients with the right information allows them to play an active role in their treatment.


To ensure his patients could obtain necessary information prior to surgery, Dr. Tiberi decided to implement PeerWell in 2016. PeerWell is an electronic system, accessed via a smartphone, tablet or computer, intended to engage patients before undergoing surgery.


"[PeerWell has] improved outcomes in terms of utilization of home health; fewer discharges to a skilled nursing facility; and shorter length of stay in hospital," he says. The technology combines patient education and engagement through its PreHab and ReHab apps, sending personalized lessons to patients daily.


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