July 27th, 2010 at 2:11 am
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Joint Replacement Registry Should Help Doctors Track Implant Device Success and Failure

by Carol Bursack

A paper released in the online and print editions of Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research, a journal of the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons, reports on the success of a total Joint Replacement Registry that Kaiser Permanente had developed. The paper states that, “Total Joint Replacement Registry was developed in a large community-based practice to track implant utilization, monitor revisions and complications, identify patients during recalls and advisories, and provide feedback on clinical practices.”

According to the press release, “This registry is the nation’s largest such registry with 100,000 plus hip and knee replacement cases.” The paper points out how the registry improves patient care by helping identify best practices and evaluating risk factors, but also helps control costs and enables sustained research.

Registries such as this are considered one way of reducing revision surgery by preventing implantation of devices that have become defective. This type of tracking makes sense to me. I’d think few doctors could keep up on all of the research and new devices approved by the FDA.

The abstract of on this registry, under the title of, “Kaiser Permanente National Total Joint Replacement Registry: Aligning Operations With Information Technology,” says that the information, which was evaluated at an ABJS Carl T. Brighton Workshop on Health Informatics by Elizabeth W. Paxton MA, Maria C. S. Inacio MS, Monti Khatod MD, Eric J. Yue MD, Robert S. Namba MD, was primarily gathered through electronic health records.

I know many people who don’t even consider themselves “seniors.” To many people, this term implies “retirement” and these folks have active lives where they contribute to society as much or more than they did when they were younger. However, like teeth, joints don’t always feel as young as the person who “owns” them.

My mother was the recipient of two hip replacements. I have several friends who, after hobbling around on worn out joints, finally gave in to getting replacement knees or hips. After the expected recovery time, most of these friends are thrilled with the results. What would not be thrilling is to discover, post surgery and recovery, that the implant one receives is now considered inferior and a needed replacement of the replacement is on the horizon.

Registries such as this one reported on in Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research seem to be a good safety device to help doctors keep track of faulty devices and improvements on the horizon.

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