YOC introduces "informed patient" feature

By Stuart J. Fischer, MD

AAOS patient education Web site offers new decision-making tool

Your Orthopaedic Connection (YOC), the Academy’s patient information Web site, is debuting a new feature—the Informed Patient module—at this year’s Annual Meeting. A joint effort between YOC and the AAOS Medical Liability Committee, chaired by Murray J. Goodman, MD, the new module is one of the first Web-based attempts to create an interactive tool that will help patients learn more about surgical procedures.

The first module, Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA), will be available after the Annual Meeting at

An educational process

The interactive, well-illustrated modules provide patients and physicians with all the necessary information for making a surgical decision. Each module is conceived as an educational process that reviews the following information in sequence:

  • Anatomy
  • Nature of the disease process
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Nonsurgical treatment options
  • Surgical options
  • The surgical procedure
  • Types of implants and components
  • Postoperative care
  • Rehabilitation
  • Potential risks and complications

The THA module includes approximately 25 illustrations—more than any other previous Academy patient education article or booklet. Radiographs, pictures of components, artists’ drawings, and clinical pictures are used to explain and illustrate the procedure.

The text is written at a seventh-grade reading level, so that patients, families, and caregivers can easily understand it. Voice narration, an added feature that complements the text, can be turned on and off with the click of a mouse.

The Informed Patient feature can be used as a stand-alone educational tool or as a record that the patient has been informed about the procedure, risks, and alternatives of the planned surgical procedure.

Easy to use

Every doctor’s office will have its own log-in. Patients will use the log-in to create their own passwords. The patient and family or caregiver may then work through the module on an interactive basis, with the ability to stop, save the responses, and return at a later date.

As they progress through the module, patients are asked to indicate if they understand the material. Links and a menu bar allow the reader to return to a previous section. The completed module may be printed or e-mailed; the physician may ask the patient to sign and date the printout, indicating that he or she has read and understood the material.

Intended to educate patients and encourage communication, the Informed Patient module is not a substitute for a legal informed con­sent document. It may, however, be used as part of the process and can provide a record that the patient has been given and understands information about the planned procedure.

The module will be active and responses stored for 90 days. The physician can access responses for an additional 30 days before the information is removed from the Academy’s server.

Try it yourself

Simply stop by the YOC booth in Academy Row, in Hall D across from the Resource Center Bookstore, to see how the new module works. Staff will be available to answer your questions.

Stuart J. Fischer, MD, is a member of the YOC editorial board.