By Eric Wicklund, mHealth Intelligence | October 29, 2018

Several hospitals and health systems across the country will be participating in a massive mHealth study to determine whether an mHealth app and the Apple Watch can be used to improve care management and outcomes for patients undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery.

The study, facilitated by Apple and Zimmer Biomet Holdings, aims to determine whether healthcare providers can use mHealth apps and wearables in a remote patient monitoring program that connects patients to their care teams before and after surgery.

Through Zimmer’s new mymobility app, accessible on the Apple Watch, providers can connect with patients for care coordination prior to surgery, then send daily surveys and physical rehabilitation and medication reminders after surgery. Patients in turn can communicate with their care teams and send daily health and activity information, which is then used to develop or modify care plans.

“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,” Apple CEO Jeff Williams said in a press release. “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 project is Apple’s latest effort to gain traction in the fast-growing remote patient monitoring market, joining the likes of Fitbit and Garmin. Experts expect this market to continue growing as healthcare providers seek to improve patient monitoring and outcomes after discharge and the payer market beefs up reimbursement for home-based care.

The study aims to enroll 10,000 patients who are facing knee or hip replacement surgery, two of the most common surgical procedures in the US. Some 1 million such surgeries are performed each year in the US, and experts say that number will jump to 3.5 million by 2035 as the procedure becomes more commonplace and connected health technologies improve care outcomes.

Academic health systems participating in the study are the University of Utah Health System, Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Emory Healthcare’s Emory University Orthopedics & Spine Hospital in Atlanta. Hospitals taking part in the project are the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, Calif., Partners HealthCare’s Newton-Wellesley Hospital and Centura Health’s Colorado Joint Replacement (CJR) center at Porter Hospital in Denver.

Also taking part in the study are several group practices and ambulatory surgery centers: ROC Orthopedics, affiliated with Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center in Tualatin, Ore.; OrthoBethesda in Maryland; OrthoArizona; the Midwest Center for Joint Replacement in Indianapolis; the Hartzband Center for Hip & Knee Replacement in Paramus, N.J.; New Mexico Orthopedic Associates; The Michigan Institute for Advanced Surgery’s DeClaire LaMacchia Orthopedic Institute in Rochester Hills, Mich.; Joint Implant Surgeons in New Albany, Ohio; Orthopedic and Fracture Clinic in Mankato, Minn.; and the Panorama Orthopedic and Spine Center in Colorado.

Original Article