This article originally appeared in Connections, a magazine
published for physicians and the community by UMass Memorial Medical
The UMass Memorial Musculoskeletal Center of Excellence is engaged in two
research projects that hold the promise of improving care and functional
outcomes for total joint
The Arthritis and Joint Replacement Center and the Spine Center are using the
DYNHA® SF-36® health survey, a computerized test for patient-reported outcome
assessment. The survey provides physicians with real-time, comprehensive
measurements of eight domains of health, including pain, function and emotional
and physical limitations.
"This is very leading edge. Although the SF-36 has been around for many
years, this is one of the first times it is being used in a clinic practice to
provide physicians with real-time, measurable information that can support
decision making," said Patricia Franklin, MD, director of clinical and outcomes
research for the Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation.
Upon arrival in the center, patients are encouraged to fill out the online
computer survey. The outcomes report is then immediately generated and waiting
for the physician outside
the examination room.
"Reviewing the report before I see the patient is very beneficial," said
David Ayers, MD, chair of the Department of Orthopedics and Physical
Rehabilitation. "I know quickly what's happened since the last time I saw the
patient, whether his or her score has gotten better or worse. And it helps as a
decision support tool between my patient and myself, as well as with the timing
of recommending surgery, if needed."
The Center of Excellence also received a four-year National Institutes of
Health grant to help reduce the variability in functional improvement after
total joint replacement rehabilitation. The clinical trial consists of telephone
support for patients in rehabilitation, encouraging them to participate actively
in their regimen and adhere to their daily exercise program.
Arthritis and Joint Replacement Center appointments: 508-334-1955