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At first, these will be the only people able to use the Mymobility app, although it will later be opened up to anyone who wants it. Participants will also receive an Apple Watch for the duration of the study. There are more than a million hip and knee replacements performed in the USA each year, so if the trial proves successful in speeding up recovery time, the market potential could be formidable. "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". Researchers will combine patient-reported feedback with continuous health and activity data from Apple Watch to provide new insights into the power of the Zimmer Biomet mymobility app to impact the standard of care for these common surgeries. For the study, patients getting a knee or hip replacement will use the app with the Apple Watch, which will be provided to them. Last year, FDA cleared AliveCor's KardiaBand app for use with Apple Watch. In addition, they can monitor patients' activity levels as they prepare for and recover from surgery.

"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.

The multi-year study in collaboration with Apple Inc will allow doctors and their teams to gauge better how well patients are following prescribed physiotherapy or regimes ahead of surgery or recovering afterwards.

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"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", informed Jeff Williams, Chief Operating Officer, Apple. However, the company will make it available to everyone in the future.

Knee and hip replacements are big business for hospitals and payers, and services that can improve recovery and help to lower costs stand to profit nicely.

Apple is working hard to position the new Apple Watch Series 4 wearable as a state of the art health monitoring device. In 2017, Apple partnered with Stanford Medicine to investigate how the Apple Watch's health features can be used to spot uneven heartbeats. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, at least 30 million people in the USA 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.