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Improving collaboration in the work-directed care for knee-replacement patients: Facilitating collaboration between the occupational physician and orthopaedic surgeon in the return-to-work guidance of knee-replacement patients, by design

Author: Anna Spaenij (2017)

Supervisory team: Bob Groeneveld (mentor), Marijke Melles (mentor), PPFM Kuijer (mentor), MHW Frings-Dresen (mentor)

Partners: Amsterdam UMC, TU Delft

Currently 30% of all knee prosthesis patients do not return to work after surgery. This is partially caused by the insufficient guidance of the patient’s care providers. The most important care providers are the occupational physician and orthopaedic surgeon in this situation.


Research into the user experiences has been done. The current collaboration is experienced as impersonal, uninvolved and inefficient both by the occupational physician and orthopaedic surgeon. Often, the patient is the carrier of information, because the orthopaedic surgeon and occupational physician are almost never in direct contact. This causes the patient to receive contradictory advice, which does not always suit his personal situation and lets the patients feel insecure and uncertain before and during rehabilitation. A detailed overview of the process can be seen in the journey map


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The design goal was to develop “an involved, time-efficient communication between the occupational physician and orthopaedic surgeon to improve the work-directed guidance of knee-prosthesis patients, based on their separate areas of expertise while focusing on common goals that fits in their current work flow”.

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My Team

Therefore, a platform is developed with the main focus of allowing both the care providers and the patient to form fitting expectations based on information and insight in the complete work-directed care process.


The developed platform combines all information concerning the patient’s function recovery and work reintegration in one overview available for care providers and patient. The platform stimulates direct communication and mutual support based on their separate areas of expertise and forms a guidance by showing the average process of rehabilitation for patients with similar work. 


The concept has been assessed with an evaluation study using an interactive prototype and a redesign has been made implementing the findings, such as “The occupational physician would like more feedback of the orthopaedic surgeon on his reintegration plan and expectations”.

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