Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis

Hip and knee replacement care is a signature focus of our partner, the Bone and Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network. Their provincial quality program aims to guide, standardize, and improve clinical practices and patient education to deliver the best possible care.

Principles of Hip and Knee Replacement in Alberta

  • A provincial standardized surgical care path (from referral intake to post-op follow-up)
  • Case management for patient-centred care
  • Geographical central intake via clinics (best practices that support safe and equal access to care)
  • Multi-disciplinary care
  • Specialist advice care plans
  • Patient and family/buddy participation
  • Follow-up appointments at designated time points
  • A provincial standardized measurement framework

Managing and Improving Quality

Hip and knee replacement care in Alberta is optimized through an evidence-based measurement framework designed by ABJHI in collaboration with clinicians. Six essential dimensions of health care quality are its foundation. Evidence and best practice are constantly evolving. Care teams bring forth new knowledge to update provincial standards through a consensus process.

ABJHI supports partner hip and knee clinics and hospitals in applying Plan-Do-Study-Act methodology for process improvement. We analyze and present aggregated and de-identified performance measurements to drive continuous quality improvement. Combined with hospital data, clinic data captures pre- and post-surgical visits for about 90% of hip and knee arthroplasty patients in Alberta. Patient-reported outcome and experience measures are an important component of the program.

Health teams review their team’s performance and compare against provincial benchmarks and other health zones, clinics, and hospitals. Surgeons receive individual performance reports compared against provincial and aggregated scores for the surgeon’s peer group (after adjusting for the complexity of the cases).

Reports flag indicators such as wait times, health complications, patient outcomes, and resource utilization. The network of care teams use the information to improve patient care on the front-lines.

The Bigger Picture

Hip and knee arthroplasty is only required by a small fraction of those with osteoarthritis. The demand for arthroplasty is dependent on the prevalence of osteoarthritis in a population. Alberta’s population is increasing and aging, and risk factors such as obesity are trending upwards.

White Paper: The Osteoarthritis Crisis in Alberta: Access, Quality, and Long-term Planning

In short, the prevalence of osteoarthritis keeps growing. And, thus, so do the needs of those with osteoarthritis. This is further motivation for initiatives focused on conservative (non-surgical) management and prevention of osteoarthritis.

Bone and Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network website