Arthrex Reimagines Patient Experience Post-surgery with Rackspace on AWS

Executive Summary

Arthrex, a global leader in surgical technology, worked with Rackspace to reimagine and modernize the post-surgery experience by creating an elegant digital communications portal built on Amazon Web Services (AWS). This cloud solution provides surgeons with customizable, post-operative templates they can quickly populate and make available for patients to access on-demand through a secure, HIPAA-compliant interface. As part of the solution, Rackspace leveraged the nearly limitless scalability of AWS and its highly secure infrastructure to upload and share comprehensive post-surgery reports, including image and video files accessed directly from Arthrex’s medical imaging technology in the operating room. 

Post-surgery Communication Burdens Surgeons and Bewilders Patients

Understanding what happened in the operating room is vital for patient recovery and post-operative care. As a groggy patient recovering from anesthesia, it can be hard to comprehend much of anything. Still, many surgeons today rely on a short, in-person debrief meeting immediately after the procedure to deliver sensitive information to the patient including imaging and notes via thumb drives and printouts. These materials can be misplaced, loaded onto non-compliant devices, or left behind in waiting rooms, putting the facility at risk of HIPAA violations. Traditional methods of communication often fall short for both surgeons and patients, leaving room to improve the patient experience: “Arthrex has a tremendous working relationship with surgeons, and we observed that communication lapse. We imagined something better,” said Gregory St. Clair, Software Architect at Arthrex.

“We knew surgeons could communicate with their patients better; the key was doing it in a way that doesn't add to their workload.”

- Eric Butler, Sr. Director of Surgical Imaging & Integration, Arthrex

Rackspace Creates a Scalable Solution with AWS to Connect Surgeon to Patient

In just 12 months, Rackspace created a communication portal on AWS that provides convenient templates for surgeons to send easy-to-understand, post-operative reports to patients. The cloud solution was built alongside a mobile app that Rackspace
previously created to download media and metadata from Arthrex’s medical imaging technology. Data was stored on-premises for research and in compliance with regulatory laws. Rackspace then used Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Relational Database Service for MySQL (Amazon RDS for MySQL) to connect relevant data to the cloud where it can be shared with patients. “Amazon S3 provided the durability, high availability, and effectively infinite scale to house the hefty storage requirements of medical records, sometimes up to 4 GB or more for a single case,” said Gregory St Clair. “And Amazon RDS for MySQL gave us the automatic backups and ease to upgrade as we scale." With the data stored safely and securely, Rackspace built a template for surgeons to easily plug in images, instructions, and video messages for their patients. Patients receive a secure login portal and credentials, and they can access their post-operative report anywhere and anytime—and be confident that their private information is secure by HIPAA standards.

Patient Satisfaction Increased

Arthrex’s post-operative, surgeon-to-patient portal makes communication easy and consistent—a difference that both patients and providers feel. “In the room with the surgeon post-operation, the Arthrex solution helps patients and their families feel the personalized attention even more acutely; it gives them a stronger sense that they’re not just a number,” said Ken Olbrish, Group Project Manager at Arthrex. “Patients have access to materials they haven’t before, and in a way, that’s much easier for them to understand. They can access it at a better time for them, when they can better digest it.” Plus, with 24/7 cloud access to digital records, patients feel like they’re receiving cutting-edge treatment. Altogether, these experiences lead to improved patient satisfaction.

“Amazon S3 allowed us to focus on our core competencies instead of worrying about architecture as we scale.”

- Craig Speier, Sr. Director of Engineering, Arthrex

Surgeon Time Saved

The on-demand personalized report helps fill patient communication gaps that used to require face-to-face meetings or phone consults with doctors while saving valuable medical time and resources. Arthrex’s digital portal allows surgeons to record video messages, include links to relevant studies, and draw on an extensive library of medical imagery, as well as images taken during the surgery. Having this information in a digital format for posterity eliminates lost documentation and subsequent follow-up appointments for reassurance.

“There’s an entire continuum of care of benefits from this technology,” said Eric Butler, Sr. Director at Arthrex. “Post-operative calls and visits to the clinics have been dramatically reduced. Nurses and medical assistants don’t have to spend time answering redundant questions that were either not well understood or not well articulated the first time.” Case in point, a surgeon using the solution measured a 68 percent decrease in calls from patients compared to three years ago at the same time. A corresponding survey corroborated the surgeon's data with 92 percent of the 226 respondents reporting that they did not feel the need to call the office to ask post-operative questions.

HIPAA-Compliant Information Secured

Thanks to Rackspace’s highly secure solution, patients can rest assured that their private information is safe, and health care providers can rest assured that they are maintaining compliance. “Everything is designed to be HIPAA compliant in the service selection and the architecture,” said Amir Kashani, VP, Cloud Native Development & IoT at Rackspace. “We’re leveraging both encryption in transit as well as at rest in Amazon S3.” At the end of the day, this means no one has to worry about misplacing a photocopied medical report or accidentally transferring files from a thumb drive or email to an unauthorized device.

Building Technology for the Future of Health Care

Leveraging the latest technology provided by AWS along with its longstanding collaboration with Rackspace, Arthrex continues to deliver on its mission of Helping Surgeons Treat Their Patients Better™. Using this highly engaging and accessible digital communication portal, post-operative patient care has evolved into a comprehensive, personalized experience. This scalable solution positions Arthrex on the cutting edge of medical technology, supporting surgeons with technology inside the operating room, outside of it, and beyond.


About Arthrex

With a mission to help surgeons treat their patients better, Arthrex is a global medical device company and leader in new product development and medical education in surgical technology.

About Rackspace Technology

Rackspace Technology is a leading end-to-end multicloud technology services company. Rackspace designs, builds, and operates customers’ cloud environments across all major technology platforms, irrespective of technology stack or deployment model. Rackspace partners with customers at every stage of your cloud journey, enabling you to modernize applications, build new products, and adopt innovative technologies.


Published August 2021