Apple Watch, Zimmer Biomet in clinical trial for monitoring hip and knee replacements

imageZimmer Biomet, a musculoskeletal medical device company, is partnering with Apple to use the Apple Watch with an iPhone 6s and above in tracking the pre-surgery and post-operative recovery process for patients with hip and knee replacements. Zimmer is using the mymobility app developed with Apple to track patient-reported feedback, provide patient education and guidance, and share continuous health and activity sensor-based data with care teams. The aim is to improve the standard of care and patient outcomes after these surgeries.

The mymobility Clinical Study started on 15 October and may enroll up to 10,000 patients with 16 corresponding healthcare facilities including academic health systems, hospitals, and orthopedic surgery centers/practices. No length or end date for the study has been disclosed. 

A positive outcome leveraging patient engagement and providing continuous detailed clinical tracking data could have major significance. There are over 1 million hip and knee orthopedic replacements in the US annually, which is expected to increase to 3.5 million by 2035. The average cost of a hip or knee replacement is estimated at about $31,000, varying widely by region, based on a 2015 Blue Cross Blue Shield Association study. Post-surgery complications are common enough so that Medicare.gov tracks them through Hospital Compare.

According to Zimmer, “the mymobility app provides instruction and opportunities for enhanced engagement between the patient and healthcare provider. This mobile application is designed to work with the Apple Watch® wearable companion to remind patients to check their smartphone application daily, to read pre-planned and timed educational information, perform tasks, and complete assigned exercises; understanding their condition and care plan gives patients the ability to actively participate in optimizing their surgical outcome.” For the clinician, it is a communication tool between the patient and care team. “Surgeons use a clinician dashboard to monitor the threshold values and actively observe progress throughout each patient’s journey. Through the adoption of multifunctional sensor technology in the form of a wearable companion on the wrist, mymobility provides the potential to identify metrics that may permit further refinement of pre and postsurgical care.”

Healthcare Dive, Zimmer Biomet release, Zimmer mymobility study website

Zimmer Biomet acquires telehealth company RespondWell

Orthopedic device maker Zimmer Biomet today (27 Oct) announced the acquisition of St Louis-based telerehabilitation + telehealth company RespondWell. RespondWell provides several facets of post-surgical physical therapy: telerehabilitation with clinically prescribed exercise routines, virtual doctor-patient consults, tablet-based personalized care plan delivery and data collection/RPM, and ‘gamified’ patient engagement tools. Up to the acquisition, according to Xconomy, RespondWell had raised $2 million from investors and had been seeking another raise of $8 million. Zimmer’s purchase price was not disclosed, but the changeover was swift, with the RespondWell website already copyrighted and top-bar tagged with Zimmer’s information.

Based on the release, RespondWell will be integrated into Zimmer Biomet Signature Solutions, using the brands Therapy@Home and presumably their original Fitness@Home. RespondWell’s former CEO Ted Spooner has been named VP of Connected Health at Zimmer Biomet; in his interview with MedCityNews, he was pleased at the exit and the acquisition by a company which wants to scale his solution.

Signature Solutions was formed from related Zimmer programs a few months ago as essentially a specialized value-based care consultancy and service provider. The combination of the two–VBC consultancy integrating with a health tech service provider–appears to be a nascent trend–and perhaps finally a path for telehealth providers. Hat tip to reader David Lee Scher MD via Twitter