Wrist and hand represent the third most common body part in work-related injuries, being associated with long-term absenteeism. Telerehabilitation can promote access to treatment, patient adherence, and engagement, while reducing health care–related costs.
Report the results of a fully remote digital care program (DCP) for wrist and hand pain (WP).
A single-arm interventional study was conducted on individuals with WP applying for a DCP. Primary outcome was the mean change in the Numerical Pain Rating Scale after 8 weeks (considering a minimum clinically important change of 30%). Secondary outcomes were: disability (Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaire), analgesic intake, surgery intention, mental health (patient health questionnaire [PHQ-9] and generalized anxiety disorder [GAD-7]), fear-avoidance beliefs (FABQ-PA), work productivity and activity impairment, and engagement.
From 189 individuals starting the DCP, 149 (78.8%) completed the intervention. A significant pain improvement was observed (51.3% reduction (2.26, 95% CI 1.73; 2.78)) and 70.4% of participants surpassing minimum clinically important change. This change correlated with improvements in disability (52.1%), FABQ-PA (32.2%), and activities impairment recovery (65.4%). Improvements were also observed in other domains: surgery intent (76.1%), mental health (67.0% in anxiety and 72.7% in depression), and overall productivity losses (68.2%). Analgesic intake decreased from 22.5% to 7.1%. Mean patient satisfaction score was 8.5/10.0 (SD 1.8).
These findings support the feasibility and utility of a fully remote DCP for patients with WP. Clinically significant improvements were observed in all health-related and productivity-related outcomes, alongside very high patient adherence rates and satisfaction. This study strengthens that management of WP is possible through a remote DCP, decreasing access barriers and potentially easing health care expenditure.