A view from inside: How Dr. Keith Berend sees the Zimmer Biomet-Apple partnership changing orthopedics


Keith Berend, MD, founding physician of Joint Implant Specialists in New Albany, Ohio, is among the initial surgeons to participate in the clinical trial of MyMobility, the app launched through a partnership between Zimmer Biomet and Apple.

MyMobility is designed to help joint replacement patients optimize their outcomes. Participants use an Apple Watch with the MyMobility app to track their progress and receive reminders and alerts during the recovery period. Researchers aim to include up to 10,000 patients in the study from across the country.

Here, Dr. Berend discusses the app and where he sees technology playing a role in orthopedics going forward.

Question: Why did you decide to participate in the study to examine MyMobility?

Dr. Keith Berend: We were selected by Apple and Zimmer Biomet due to our capacity for research, our being among the busiest joint replacement practice in the Midwest and our reputation.

Q: What has been your experience with MyMobility so far? What aspects of the app are most advantageous?

KB: The patients have been nearly universally happy with the program. The app allows for efficient communication between our practice and our patients. Additionally, it appears that the app and the Apple Watch are synergistic with our approach to physical therapy where we constantly seek to benchmark our care to be the most cost efficient but also the most productive.

Q: How are the patients responding to MyMobility? Are there any roadblocks or pitfalls you're running into in terms of utilization?

KB: There have been very few roadblocks other than the percentage of patients who have Android type smart phones and are thus not currently eligible to participate. Patients are responding well. Amazingly, even our elderly and rural patients are embracing the technology.

Q: What excites you most about this technology? What role do you see apps like MyMobility and other consumer technologies playing in orthopedics over the next decade?

KB: To me the most exciting aspect of the study and the technology is the potential to gather perioperative information out to a year on more than 11,000 patients. With this magnitude of data, we should be able to have real-time predictive analytics and artificial intelligence that can tell us ahead of time who will do well, who needs more or less PT, who is at risk for a complication and when can we intervene to prevent it. We will be able to finally tell the world how much better a partial knee can be versus a total knee, or how much faster the anterior minimally invasive approach recovers than a posterior.

To participate in future Becker's Q&As, contact Laura Dyrda at ldyrda@beckershealthcare.com

For a deeper dive into the future of orthopedics and spine, attend the Becker's 17th Annual Future of Spine + Spine, Orthopedic & Pain Management-Driven ASC in Chicago, June 13-5, 2019. Click here to learn more and register.

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