A collaborative education and awareness initiative providing patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs) with tools and information to make informed choices on hip or knee replacement surgery has been launched.

Real Life Tested is a collaborative education and awareness initiative providing HCPs and patients with tools and information to make informed choices regarding hip or knee replacement surgery.

The need for this resource is supported by a new national survey of GPs and orthopaedic surgeons that reveals a current information gap on joint replacement surgery for patients with osteoarthritis and GPs.

The survey, commissioned by DePuy Synthes Companies, shows that more than half (60%) of GPs agree they would benefit from additional guidance on how to identify the appropriate osteoarthritis patients for specialist referral. Further, only one third (39%) of GPs feel there is a sufficient amount of credible information available to patients about joint replacement therapy, whilst half (48%) lack the time to fully educate their patients on the benefits and risks of surgery.

This is important, as reported by surgeons (N=50), the leading patient concerns are fear of surgical procedure (66%), ability to cope post-operation and recovery period (56%), and waiting time for surgery (48%).

 "All patients are different, and require different treatment options depending on the severity and extent of their osteoarthritis," said Ms Jo Cumming, Head of Information and Helplines at Arthritis Care, the UK's largest charity dedicated to supporting people with arthritis. "This survey shows there is a clear need for us to work together to provide additional educational support to patients and their healthcare professionals to ensure the right choice is made for the patient at the right time."

The UK-wide survey was conducted on behalf of DePuy Synthes Companies by Censuswide, an independent research company, and polled 150 practising HCPs including GPs (N=100) and orthopaedic surgeons (N=50) via an online questionnaire. It was developed in consultation with leading orthopaedic experts and patient advocates and aimed to identify education needs and ways in which communications between healthcare professionals and their patients can be optimised when talking about treatment options for osteoarthritis.

The aim is to provide information and educational resources along the entire patient pathway, from the onset of symptoms right through to the post-operative phase and beyond. The campaign will be rolled out across multiple media channels, and include printed materials for orthopaedic surgeons and GPs to be used with their patients to reinforce and supplement the advice they give. It also features an online resource containing educational materials for patients and a number of real life patient case studies. These materials will help the patient to understand more about their condition and their surgical treatment options. For more information on this initiative go to  www.reallifetested.co.uk.