Rural-Urban Differences in Hospital and Patient-Reported Outcomes Following Total Hip Arthroplasty

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Surgery, MaineHealth Institute for Research

Journal Title

Arthroplasty today


BACKGROUND: Rural patients have unique health-care factors influencing outcomes of arthroplasty, hypothetically putting these patients at increased risk for complications following total joint arthroplasty. The aim of this study is to better understand differences in patient outcomes and satisfaction between rural and urban patients receiving care in an urban setting and to provide more equitable care. METHODS: A retrospective chart review was performed on patients undergoing primary total hip arthroplasty at a single large academic center between January 2013 and August 2020. Demographic, operative, and hospital outcomes were obtained from the institutional electronic medical record. Rurality was determined by rural-urban code (RUC) classifications by zip code with RUC codes 1-3 defined as urban and RUC 4-10 defined as rural. RESULTS: Patients from urban areas were more likely to visit the emergency department within 30 days postoperatively ( = .006) and be readmitted within 90 days ( < .001). However, unplanned ( < .001) admissions were higher in the rural group. There was no statistical difference in postoperative complications ( = .4). At 6 months, rural patients had higher patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) including Hip Disability and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score total ( = .05), Hip Disability and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score interval ( = .05), self-reported functional improvement ( < .05), improvements in pain ( < .05), and that the surgery met expectations ( < .05). However, these values did not reach minimal clinically important difference. CONCLUSIONS: There may be differences in emergency department visits, readmissions, and PROMs in rural vs urban populations undergoing total hip arthroplasty in an urban setting. Patient access to care and attitudes of rural patients toward health care may underlie these findings. Understanding differences in PROMs, satisfaction, and hospital-based outcomes based on rurality is essential to provide equitable arthroplasty care.



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