The program, which includes interactive information delivered to patients via a tablet-like device, explains what to expect post-surgery and how patients can participate in their own care.

Project leader Professor Mari Botti, from the Centre for Quality and Patient Safety in Deakin’s Institute for Health Transformation, said the interactive MyStay program was critical to support patients to drive their own rehabilitation after painful surgery.

An evaluation of the program’s first intervention – for recovery post knee-replacements – was recently published in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety, showing a raft of benefits.

As part of the study, 241 patients at Epworth HealthCare were randomly assigned to use MyStay to supplement their regular care.

“Patients who used MyStay had a better understanding of their goals for recovery and reported less pain after their surgery,” Professor Botti said.

“Those using MyStay also stayed in hospital one less day on average, were more satisfied with their care, and more likely to recommend family or friends to the health service.”

Professor Botti said MyStay was currently delivered on the Epworth’s Point of Care System, a bedside information system that patients can access for a range of services, with nurses and physiotherapists also using MyStay with patients in guided sessions.

“MyStay provides patients with clear information to complement guidance from clinicians, and the great thing is patients can access this support any time they want, quickly, easily and consistently,” she said.

“From the first day of surgery, patients can use the MyStay program to access information about their goals for the day, and how they can manage their pain, keep safe and prepare for discharge

“Animations of recovery and specific rehabilitation exercises also support patients to participate in their recovery.

“It’s a game changer for engaging patients in their recovery.”

Following the success of the knee replacement pilot, a MyStay hip replacement program is currently being trialled at Epworth HealthCare, with a cardiac and spinal surgery program under development as well.

The cardiac program will be developed with the assistance of collaborators at the Deakin Software and Technology Innovation Laboratory, with plans to trial this intervention across multiple sites.

Senior Lecturer in Deakin’s School of Nursing and Midwifery Dr Jo Mcdonall, also part of the MyStay development team, said patient participation was fundamental to safe and high-quality healthcare.

“But it’s not enough to just give patients the information they need, without any structured support to digest and implement it,” Dr McDonall said.

“Innovative solutions are needed to help patients participate effectively in their care to the extent that this is preferred.”

The MyStay knee and hip replacement programs were developed and tested in collaboration with Epworth Victor Smorgon Chair of Surgery Professor Richard de Steiger, from the University of Melbourne and Enlighten Health, and in consultation with patients, surgeons, physiotherapists and nurses.

The program received initial funding from The Norman Beischer Fund for Women and Babies, and received further development and implementation funding from The Baker Foundation.

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