Knee Joint Replacement Before and After

How Skeleton Key Helped a Medical Center Streamline and Expand Its Research

The Spokane Joint Replacement Center (hereafter “the center”) is an orthopedic surgical center specializing in hip and knee replacements. One of the things that makes this place unique is its frequent involvement in joint replacement research; David F. Scott, MD, who leads the center, feels that physician-driven research is indispensable in finding new and better ways to serve patients, and his activity in this field has made the center a unique and influential practice.

This research is fairly complex from a logistical standpoint. It requires coordinating research subjects, collecting and compiling data, and performing statistical analyses on that data. The end result, however, is a treasure trove of useful information for medical device manufacturers and academics alike. Skeleton Key played a pivotal role in streamlining how the center gathers and analyzes its data, making the center a powerhouse for medical device research.

The Problem

When Dr. Scott and his center first began their studies, data from patients were being manually entered into a spreadsheet program. Depending on the study in question, data could come from 100 to 200 people per research site, with any number of sites participating. The data consisted of survey data and reports collected pre-op and post-op at regular intervals. Although a few months might pass between surveys for any one patient, the timing depended on the date of the patient’s surgery, meaning that on any given day, there was always a flow of data coming from the patient pool.

Collecting this data and entering it into the spreadsheet had become an enormous task, as had performing the needed analysis once that data was entered. This meant that any findings resulting from the analysis lagged behind what the data was indicating.

Not only was data collection and analysis inefficient, but creating new studies and customizing the needed forms required extra development time and effort as well. Although the center had a FileMaker solution started at the time they engaged with Skeleton Key, it was obvious that it was not robust enough to meet their complex needs with regard to large-scale research studies.

The Solution: The Ortho Research Master ® App

It was apparent to Dr. Scott and his team that an off-the-shelf solution would not be the right way to go. Not only were such systems price-prohibitive, but they did not include the kinds of statistical analysis needed for the studies—which is exactly why all the manual work needed to be done in the first place.

Skeleton Key worked with the center to rebuild their existing FileMaker solution as a WebDirect solution, better enabling them to work with multiple sites and users and streamlining the data collection process. Thus, the Ortho Research Master ® app was born.Ortho Research Master ®

We then added a statistical analysis package directly to the app, eliminating the need to import data into a spreadsheet for further analysis. Now that the analysis is happening in the Ortho Research Master ® itself, comparative analysis across multiple sites and samples is quicker and easier, leading to faster findings on product efficacy.

The center can easily create and customize brand-new studies with the new system, without any development needed. Skeleton Key also assisted in meeting all the necessary HIPAA and FDA requirements to ensure that each study is in compliance. New sites can also be easily onboarded while maintaining HIPAA compliance.

Finally, the Ortho Research Master ® app also allows the center to appeal to more medical manufacturing partners. In the past, the inefficient process had forced the center to limit its study participation solely to those manufacturers that required immediate studies. This approach limited their growth, as they were unable to target prospective manufacturing partners with ideas for future studies. Being able to statistically analyze study information and report on it easily both saves time and has improved the center’s marketing prospects, allowing them to grow to meet manufacturers’ needs.

The Results

The most immediate result for the center was that managing studies became less time-consuming. Results can now be had much more quickly, which means high-quality studies can be completed more frequently—much to the delight of medical device manufacturers.

In fact, one provider of joint implants had contracted the center to do a research study, which subsequently produced some great data. The study was presented and even published in an academic journal. When shown the data and a demo of the system that had collected it, the provider said “they had never seen anything like it.” They were blown away, both by the ease with which the study could be set up and by the speed at which the data could be collected and analyzed.

Now the center has plans to make the new system into a commercially viable product, licensing it so that other clinics and research centers can more easily conduct their research as well. Skeleton Key continues to work with Dr. Scott to make the product more robust and more user-friendly. Along with its statistical capabilities, the system promises to be competitive with many other off-the-shelf research tools.

Skeleton Key Can Help Your Medical Organization Next

Medical research is complex, time-consuming, and subject to regulations and privacy issues. Maintaining a smooth, error-free workflow is critical for timely and accurate studies. Our work with Spokane Joint Replacement Center highlights how custom application development can make that happen.

If you would like to hear how Skeleton Key can help your clinic, hospital, or research center better streamline its processes and get a firm handle on its data, simply fill out our contact form so we can set up a discovery call with you.