Today, Apple has announced its partnership with Zimmer Biomet to couple Apple Watch health-tracking data with the mymobility app to help patients recover from knee and hip replacements. Apple is also working with the medical device company on a clinical study involving 10,000 patients to test the system’s efficacy.
Created by Zimmer Biomet, mymobility incorporates educational videos and other tools designed to assist the patient through the surgical experience. The Apple Watch, equipped with an EKG, can track the patient’s heart rate and share this data with a professional care team. The coupling of these two technologies was done with the end goal of helping both orthopedic surgeons and researchers attain a better understanding of the factors playing into the arthoplastic surgical recovery process.
Mymobility is available only to patients enrolled in the study, but will be made available to the general public in the future, according to a Zimmer Biomet spokesperson. Those participating in the study who do not own an Apple Watch will be given one to use during this research. Though not affiliated with this study, FitBit has also looked into using its wearable technology to facilitate surgical recovery processes.
Bryan Hanson, Zimmer Biomet CEO, described the study to be “one of the largest evidence-gathering clinical studies in orthopedic history,” in a statement.
This study marks the second cardiovascular study Apple has become part of, with the first being the 2017 heart study in partnership with Stanford University that set out to detect atrial fibrillation.
Apple CEO Jeff Williams is optimistic about the potential these two technologies have when used in concert to bolster postoperative care, stating: “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. 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.”
The 16 facilities participating in the Apple Watch Mymobility trials include hospitals, surgery centers, and academic centers in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Utah, according to Zimmer Biomet.
Zimmer Biomet functions as a global orthopedic developer, creating prosthetic joints and dental apparatus. The company is based in the US but operates in over 25 other countries as well. With its estimated 2017 sales being $7.8 billion, Zimmer Biomet is the perfect matchup for an unprecedented company like Apple.
News of this partnership came hours after it was announced that the Apple Watch would be used in a binge eating study, making the Apple Watch a topic of interest in current medical research.
Up to 10,000 Americans due to have hip or knee replacements will be able to funnel basic health data directly from their Apple Watches to their surgeons under a new app being tested by prosthetic limb specialist Zimmer Biomet. #Applewatch https://t.co/eWPtUbXF2p
— C. Michael Gibson MD (@CMichaelGibson) October 15, 2018