The app that Apple and Zimmer Biomet have created is called mymobility, with the goal to help guide the patient through the surgery and improve their experience and outcome post-surgery. Estimates peg the number of Americans who get hip and knee replacement surgeries at more than 1 million a year.
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. The app also delivers patient-reported data and activity information from the Apple Watch to physicians, so they can monitor a patient's progress. A Zimmer Biomet spokesperson told CNBC the app will only be available to patients who enroll in the study at first but will eventually be available on a wider scale.
The mymobility app tends to provide instructions, exercises, and tips before and after the respective surgery as well as track steps and heartbeat and other variables and provide a safe messaging platform between the patients and the doctors. The Apple Watch's latest functionality will make it useful for patients recovering from knee and hip replacement surgeries. Both companies are also cooperating on a clinical study.
"We are incredibly excited to work with Apple to transform the knee and hip replacement experience for patients and surgeons", said Bryan Hanson, President and CEO, Zimmer Biomet. In 2017, Apple partnered with Stanford Medicine to investigate how the Apple Watch's health features can be used to spot uneven heartbeats.
These are just part of the iPhone maker's strategy in helping Apple Watch be recognized as a health monitoring tool. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, at least 30 million people in the United States have some kind of eating disorder, and one hope is the new study reliant on Apple Watch could help researchers predict an episode of binge-eating before it happens. Considering the aging population, more people are expected to need knee and hip replacement surgeries in the coming years.