Apple announces new app to help knee and hip replacement patients; U of U looking for study participants

SALT LAKE CITY – Every year, more than a million people get knee and hip replacements in the U.S. and soon they’ll be able to track their recovery using their smart phone.

University of Utah Health is one of four hospitals in the country teaming up with Apple and Zimmer Biomet, a medical device company, on an app called "MyMobility."

The app helps people before and after knee and hip replacement surgery.

“They'll be given an Apple watch to use in that entire year,” said Dr. Christopher Pelt, University of Utah Orthopedic Surgeon.

Dr. Pelt is encouraging his patients to sign up for the clinical study. Patients can interact with doctors who can guide them through surgery prep, recovery and rehab.

“We might be able to better understand our patient’s activities, their pain, their needs,” he said.

Researchers will look at patient feedback and data from the Apple watch to determine how technology can improve a patient’s health and cut down on costs.

“I think we have a new opportunity to really kind of revolutionize some of the ways we interact and care for our patients,” Dr. Pelt said.

Connie Bennett had knee replacement surgery on September 7. She said she feels like a new person.

“Before, the knee was swollen [it was] hard to get up out of a sitting position," Bennett said. "Now I get up and it's not pain.”

MyMobility isn’t an option for her, since it just rolled out. But she sees the benefits.

“It makes you focus more on your recovery and how you're doing and what you can do to improve that recovery,” she said.

For patients who may not be tech savvy, Dr. Pelt said not to worry.

“As long as they're comfortable interacting with our research staff and just the general functions of their phone, it shouldn't be that scary for patients that aren't always interacting with technology.”

U of U health is looking for 800 patients who may be interested in participating in this study. For more information, click here.