What is Care Expert?

Posted on 9 December 2020

Efficient, affordable, expert care. With Mediclinic’s Care Expert, there has never been a better time to undergo hip and knee replacement surgery.

When Patricia Hanekom tore ligaments in her hip, when involved in a car accident, she was able to manage the pain through medication. After a few years, however, medication was no longer effective, and the constant discomfort and lack of mobility started to take an emotional toll.

“Walking was very painful, especially if I did long distances. I used to have incidents where my leg locked and I had to kind of drag it,” she says. Her doctors advised her that surgery was her only option, but she was apprehensive. “I was scared of having that pain afterwards, not being able to go running or cycling again, and I was scared it was going to change my life, and put me back.”

Looking back, she wonders why she was ever nervous to begin with. “I really felt safe during the whole operation, beforehand and afterwards. I was not anxious, because I understood what was going to be done, and the healing process went smoothly. I was happy.”

Patricia underwent hip replacement surgery at Mediclinic Durbanville, a treatment journey managed by Mediclinic’s Care Expert programme. A new, value-based care model that helps bring together multiple facets of orthopaedic surgical treatment into a streamlined, team-led journey, Care Expert is an integrated hip and knee replacement surgical product that provides financial certainty, quality care – and an enhanced patient experience.

“We focus on value and cost effectiveness,” says Dr Basil Bonner, an emergency medicine specialist and current Clinical Product Development Manager: Mediclinic Southern Africa. “Best practices are a part of that, and we drive efficiency in every step of the way. And we do this because we know, when we integrate care, we get better value for patients.”

Care Expert is a tailored product that provides the patient with reassurance that there is an orchestrated multidisciplinary team on your side, driving excellent outcomes in joint replacement surgery at the most affordable rate. There are now 34 participating hospitals, and 95 orthopaedic surgeons currently offering Care Expert to their patients.

Whereas even a few years ago, hip and knee replacement surgery was a major operation, requiring many months of pain management, post-operative recovery and rehabilitation, today, it is a simpler, less invasive procedure where surgeons aim to have patients walking and even exercising just weeks after leaving the hospital.

The key is efficiency, says Dr Bonner. “In the past the patient would have a very fragmented experience, with the orthopaedic surgeon, the hospital, the anaesthetist and physiotherapist all being separate steps and processes. With Care Expert, it is a much more streamlined and efficient journey, with all of those roles being represented as a collective.”

A crucial component to ensuring an integrated treatment journey is a Care Expert Navigator – a dedicated nurse who follows a patient’s progress right from initial consultation until well after discharge. This ensures one person has the responsibility of tracking the outcomes of every step, so that a patient’s progress is accurately measured according to set goals and objectives.

Just a few weeks after surgery, Patricia began to cycle and exercise again. “I had become so used to that pain, all the time,” she says, “so now, after the operation, I’m waiting for it. After going cycling, I’m waiting for the pain to come, and it’s not there. I don’t have to live with that pain anymore; it’s gone.”

High-quality outcomes, at affordable costs. That’s how we define value, says Dr Bonner.

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Published in Innovation