Apple inks partnership with Zimmer Biomet to study joint replacement surgery
Participants will use Zimmer Biomet mymobility’s Apple Watch app as a digital interactive care plan to help guide them in surgery preparation, recovery and rehab tasks.
Warsaw, Indiana-based Zimmer Biomet, a medical device company focused on joint replacements is embarking on a clinical study with Apple to use the Apple Watch and iPhone to improve patient experience before and after surgery.
Participants will use Zimmer Biomet mymobility’s Apple Watch app as a digital interactive care plan to help guide them in surgery preparation, recovery and rehab tasks. The application connects patients to their surgical care team for adjustments and corrections to their care plan as well as additional educational information and reminders from clinicians.
Researchers will marry this data and patient-reported feedback with the activity and health data collected by the Apple Watch to determine the effect of the technology on improving patient outcomes and cutting down on costs.
Ultimately, the study will have the potential to enroll as many as 10,000 participants, according to a news release.
“We are incredibly excited to work with Apple to transform the knee and hip replacement experience for patients and surgeons,” Zimmer Biomet President and CEO Bryan Hanson, said in a statement. “At Zimmer Biomet, we are committed to improving care decisions through digital health and we are thrilled to launch one of the largest evidence-gathering clinical studies in orthopaedic history.”
In the U.S., around one million knee and hip replacements are performed annually, a number that is expected to increase to 3.5 million by 2035.
Zimmer Biomet, one of the largest manufacturers in the space, has branched out with technology services as a way to better help patients recover from procedures. In 2016, the company purchased interactive telerehabilitation business RespondWell as part of this effort.
Apple made a big splash into the regulated healthcare space with its new Apple Watch, an FDA-cleared device with the ability to perform EKGs and detect atrial fibrillation.
Wearables like the Apple Watch are playing an increasingly larger role in clinical trials as a way to more easily take measurements of vitals or perform diagnostic tests.
Among the 16 surgical sites participating in the study are academic medical centers like University of Utah Health and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, and hospitals including the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Southern California and the Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Massachusetts.
“We believe one of the best ways to empower consumers is by giving them the ability to use their health and activity information to improve their own care,” said Apple COO Jeff Williams in a statement.
“We are proud to enable knee and hip replacement patients to use their own data and share it with their doctors seamlessly, so that they can participate in their care and recovery in a way not previously possible through traditional in-person visits. This solution will connect consumers with their doctors continuously, before and after surgery.”