The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 7, 1303 - 1306

After-Hours Calls in a Joint Replacement Practice

Kee, James R. et al.
Hip Knee


Early discharge after joint arthroplasty requires additional resources to manage patients safely after surgery. Patient concerns must be addressed during nonbusiness hours to keep patients out of the emergency department and avoid readmissions. The goal of our study was to determine how type of system is utilized in a busy early discharge joint replacement practice.


In our total joint program, we have utilized a Google phone number to give patients access to a member of the surgical team after business hours and on weekends. The duration, chief complaint, and resolution of from the phone calls were collected prospectively for 3 months (July 3, 2017-October 3, 2017).


Sixty-eight calls were received from 55 patients during the 3-month study period. Three hundred twenty-five cases were performed. The average duration of a call was 3.9 minutes. The average length of time from surgery to call was 17.5 days (range 0-442 days). Suboptimal health literacy was associated with increased calls within the first week after surgery (odds ratio = 4.1, 95% confidence interval = 1.2-14.5, P = .022). A chief complaint of pain was associated with primary versus revision surgery. (odds ratio = 3.23, 95% confidence interval = 1.08-9.86).


An “after-hours” telephone contact service with a member of the surgical team may help avoid unnecessary emergency department visits. About one phone call was received per day, with an average duration of 3.9 minutes per call. These additional resources are necessary to maintain patient safety and satisfaction in early discharge joint replacement.

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