Alberta At Forefront Of Hip, Knee Care

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Knee Care

Alberta is leading the way nationally on hip and knee care thanks to a successful pilot project that resulted in an 85 per cent reduction in wait times.

The current non-pilot wait time of 145 days was reduced to 21 days, from accepted referral to first orthopaedic consultation.

The Calgary-based Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute will receive $6.3 million to help roll out the program province wide. The institute will develop evidence-based guidelines and new care models for bone and joint conditions; evaluate bone and joint protocols and programs; and develop a sustainability model for hip and knee joint replacements.

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The Alberta Hip and Knee Replacement pilot project tested a new care path to provide 1,200 hip and knee surgeries through central assessment clinics in the Capital, Calgary and David Thompson Health Regions. Patients in the $20-million pilot were provided care by a multidisciplinary team of health professionals from pre-surgery assessment to recovery after surgery. The pilot began in April 2005.

"We know that a collaborative approach to assessing and managing health procedures can result in reduced wait times and increased patient satisfaction," said Dave Hancock, Minister of Health and Wellness. "We are applying what we learned from the Alberta Hip and Knee Replacement pilot project to manage hip and knee surgeries on a province-wide scale. Albertans will benefit from improved access."

A total of $12 million has been allocated to the Capital, Calgary and David Thompson Regions to support a province-wide system to manage hip and knee surgeries, and to provide leadership to the other six health regions. Alberta Health and Wellness is working with those six non-pilot regions to facilitate that process.

The Capital, Calgary and David Thompson Health Regions are now implementing a new care path for hip and knee surgeries that will be expanded to the six other health regions. The new care path will follow common best practices, including:

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