The Effect of Orca’s Interactive Three-Dimensional Education Apps on Patients’ Decision to Follow Through with a Recommendation for Surgery
Surgeons face the challenge of educating patients about complex surgical procedures in a timely manner. Traditionally, surgeons have used educational tools that include pamphlets, models, hand drawings, and complex verbal explanations to communicate the risks and benefits of surgery. Recently, interactive three-dimensional patient education tools have been used to accomplish these goals of educating patients before surgery. Because of a lack of education, some patients have a sense of apprehension, seek second opinions, and ultimately do not follow through with a recommendation for surgery. Our hypothesis is that patient education apps will help educate patients in a way that will alleviate fears and questions, minimize the need for second opinions, and overall result in a higher rate of patients who follow through with the recommendation for surgery.
This study examined the practice patterns of a single private practice orthopedic spine surgeon. Before using Orca’s patient education apps, patients who received a recommendation for surgery also received an explanation of what the surgery entailed by a combination of verbal explanations and models to demonstrate surgical techniques. After using Orca apps, patients were educated using interactive three-dimensional apps to demonstrate surgical techniques. The number of patients who followed through with the recommendation for surgery was recorded. Any patient who received the recommendation for surgery but did not have surgery was contacted and the reason for not having surgery was recorded.
Before using Orca, 154 patients received the recommendation to have surgery and 120 (77.9%) of them followed through with surgery. After the Orca apps were implemented, 55 patients were recommended surgery and 51 (92.7%) had surgery. This demonstrates a 14.8% increase in the rate of retaining patients for surgery after implementing the tools from Orca.
This study demonstrates that Orca’s interactive three-dimensional patient education apps lead to a ~15% increase in helping patients follow through with the recommendation for surgery and subsequent compliance. Improved education about surgery can alleviate fears, minimize the need for second opinions, and ultimately result in a higher rate of patients following through with the recommendation for surgery.