Secondary Care

Norfolk and Norwich launches study into wearable devices

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS FT has launched a new research study into the use of wearable technology to monitor patients who have hip or knee replacements.

The trust is working with Dynamic Metrics Ltd (DML) to develop and test a system to study mobility and improve a patient’s gait after a joint replacement. The device provides a standardised digital gait analysis and will be used to measure how patients walk after surgery to enable better rehabilitation.

The project aims to recruit 100 patients who are due to have hip or knee replacements to measure how they walk after surgery to address muscle weaknesses and provide bespoke strengthening exercises.

The MAP Rehab study is being run by the NNUH Orthopaedic Clinical Research team and aims to improve quality of life by reducing the risk of falls and arthritis for patients in the future. The study has been funded by the Innovate UK Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Celia Whitehouse, Orthopaedic Clinical Research Sister, said: “This is a novel and exciting way to use digital health innovations to improve care for our patients.”

“Total hip and knee replacements are very successful operations. Once the joint pain is relieved by surgery, patients need retraining to walk correctly and to strengthen weakened muscles.”

“There are very few studies on how arthritis affects the way people walk after joint replacement surgery. Patients are generally unaware of how their walking pattern has adapted over time and they many continue unaware to load joints and use muscles incorrectly. This can lead to falls, reduced activity, osteoarthritis or further joint replacement surgery.”

Professor Iain McNamara, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, said: “We are constantly striving to improve the outcomes of joint replacement surgery. I very much hope that this will provide a way that patients can monitor and improve their own performance in a targeted manner to give them the best possible result from their operation.”