Minimizing nonessential follow-up for hip fracture patients
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INTRODUCTION: Hip fractures pose a significant burden to patients and care providers. The optimal protocol for postoperative care across all surgically treated hip fracture patients is unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect that routine follow-up had on changing the clinical course. METHODS: This was a retrospective review of all low-energy hip fractures (ie, femoral neck fractures, pertrochanteric hip fractures, and subtrochanteric fractures) treated surgically from January 2018 through December 2019. Charts were reviewed for demographic information; the procedure performed; the number of postoperative follow-up visits each patient had with the orthopaedic surgery team; the number of sets of postoperative radiographic images obtained; and postoperative complications. RESULTS: Eight hundred eleven patients with 835 hip fractures were included in the study. The overall number of patient visits was 1,788, and the number of radiograph sets was 1,537. The median number of follow-up visits was two visits/fracture (interquartile range: 1 to 3 visits, maximum = 9 visits), with the median follow-up length of 54 days (interquartile range: 33 to 97 days) with the treating orthopaedic surgeons. Sixty-two (7.6%) patients had 81 (4.5%) postoperative visits and 26 (1.7%) sets of images that led to treatment changes. Among them, 48 (77.4%) patients had concerns that were initiated by the patients and/or care provider. Fourteen standard patient visits led to treatment changes that were not initiated as concerns by the patient and/or care provider. DISCUSSION: Most clinic visits and radiographs did not lead to a change in the care plan. We recommend that emphasis be placed on comprehensive orthogeriatric care of these patients, and we believe that these data provide the impetus to work toward improving the care pathways for elderly patients with hip fractures.
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