Physical rehabilitation for total hip replacement patients following hospital discharge is beneficial; however, accessing rehabilitation is often challenging. Telerehabilitation helps negate access issues and is efficacious in total knee and hip replacement patients. This study aims to compare the cost-effectiveness of a telerehabilitation programme delivered remotely into patients’ homes versus traditional care for total hip replacement patients following hospital discharge.
A cost-effectiveness (cost-utility) analysis was conducted from the perspective of a health service alongside a two-arm randomised controlled trial comparing telerehabilitation ( n=35) with in-person care ( n=35) following hospital discharge after total hip replacement. The primary analysis used an Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratio to compare the cost per Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) accrued in the telerehabilitation group versus in-person control using costs and effects data from the randomised trial. A secondary analysis was conducted whereby the time accrued by patients attending rehabilitation sessions (including travel time) was considered the “cost” (i.e. a time burden), rather than cost from the health service perspective.
Estimated mean differences in healthcare costs and QALYs gained were detected but were not significant. The estimated mean (95%CI) difference in cost of telerehabilitation versus in-person was –$28.90 (–$96.37 to $40.45), favouring the telerehabilitation group. The estimated mean (95%CI) difference in QALYs gained from telerehabilitation versus in-person was –0.0025 (–0.0227 to 0.0217). The estimated mean (95%CI) difference in time burden favoured less time burden for the telerehabilitation group (–4.21 (–4.69 to –3.74) hours).
Telerehabilitation in the total hip replacement population incurred similar costs and yielded similar effects to traditional in-person care. Telerehabilitation significantly reduced the time burden for patients and carers. These findings are valuable for healthcare providers seeking to implement accessible patient-centred rehabilitation services.