Zimmer Biomet rolls out first AI tool to predict post-op outcomes

After cleaving off its spinal and dental businesses into the newly independent company ZimVie, Zimmer Biomet is now going all-in on its remaining orthopedic segments, including the knee, hip, craniomaxillofacial and thoracic, and sports medicine.

Its first post-spinoff move spans the knee and hip surgical businesses, with the launch of the company’s first artificial-intelligence-based software offering.

The WalkAI tool analyzes patients’ progress in the first few months after a hip or knee surgery to predict whether they’re recovering at the desired pace. It has already been rolled out to certain existing users of Zimmer Biomet’s mymobility care management platform and will see a wider release by the end of this month.

WalkAI connects to the mymobility platform, which uses post-op patients’ iPhones and Apple Watches to continuously collect information about their gait and other physiological metrics. The software tool’s AI algorithm analyzes those mobility data to come up with a daily prediction of each patient’s walking speed at 90 days after surgery.

If those daily predictions fall short of real-world data stored in Zimmer Biomet’s database, WalkAI will automatically notify the patient’s healthcare providers through the clinician-facing side of the mymobility platform, alerting them to the possibility that the patient’s recovery may not be on target and giving them the chance to tweak the recovery plan before they get too far off track.

The software is being added to Zimmer Biomet’s ZBEdge suite. ZBEdge launched last year as the combined home of its robotic surgery, digital health and smartphone app solutions, which together make up a comprehensive digital surgery platform.

“Using a proprietary, Zimmer Biomet-developed artificial intelligence algorithm, WalkAI is the orthopedic industry’s first and only AI-based model to create daily, personalized predictions and identify patients who may be exceptions to typical recovery curves in an effort to help surgeons mitigate or minimize poor outcomes,” said Liane Teplitsky, president of global robotics and technology and data solutions at Zimmer Biomet.

“WalkAI is built from our wealth of anonymized ZBEdge data and is the first model to demonstrate our unique capability to deliver actionable predictions by connecting real-world data and AI through ZBEdge products and experiences,” Teplitsky said.

Elsewhere in the ZBEdge platform, WalkAI is joined by the mymobility app and the Rosa robotic surgery system. The latter includes several FDA-cleared iterations of the surgical robot, including versions for hip replacement and total and partial knee arthroplasty procedures.

The Rosa ONE system for neurosurgical and spine operations, meanwhile, is now under the jurisdiction of spinoff company ZimVie—though it still operates on the same ZBEdge platform as its former brethren.