Smarter surgical recoveries with wearable technologies

Share this post:

When we entered the field of orthopedic medicine 20 or so years ago, a total knee device sold for $15,000. Today it’s $3,000. Implants are now essentially commodity items. They’re all FDA approved, and patients generally see good results.

However, with today’s shift to value-based healthcare, including programs such as Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR), the total-joint industry needs to do even more to ensure the best patient outcomes with the fewest complications.

At Consensus, we wanted to move joint replacement from intuitive medicine, where doctors interpret outcomes based on patient reporting, to precision medicine. We saw that tailoring post-operative care to the individual patient while driving cost down through better outcomes could transform joint replacement.

Changing the game with TracPatch wearable technology

The first six weeks of at-home recovery after total joint surgery are critical for a positive outcome. Until now, visibility into the patient’s at-home activity has been nonexistent.

We decided to take our considerable experience and expertise in orthopedics and develop a game-changing solution called TracPatch. TracPatch is the first orthopedic wearable medical device that allows doctors to see real-time data on a patient’s postoperative progress.

The non-invasive, two-piece TracPatch adheres to the patient’s leg, above and below the knee. It collects and continuously sends activity data—including range of motion (ROM), ambulation, exercise compliance, and wound site temperature trends—to a secure cloud-based platform.

The TracPatch app and web interface for physicians allows them to track patient progress. The patient app lets people take control of their own recovery by connecting to the TracPatch device using Bluetooth technology.

We’re using the power of IBM Watson Health to capture, manage and analyze the data to help patients, surgeons and hospitals drive better outcomes. Surgeons can see when patients don’t follow their post-operative recovery protocol. They can also intervene proactively if they see a problem, such as a sudden loss of mobility or a spike in temperature. Finally, because both the surgeon and the patient track the ongoing recovery process, using the device can help eliminate unnecessary office visits when recovery progresses smoothly.

In addition to improving post-surgical outcomes, the Watson AI technology will also allow surgeons to plan treatment more strategically. The TracPatch can be applied to pre-operative patients to track their actual, rather than reported, mobility and activity. The surgeon can determine whether the patient truly needs a total knee replacement or is a candidate for other less invasive or costly options.

TracPatch and Watson: Creating a new gold standard in value-based healthcare

At Consensus, we’ve come to the realization that our business is no longer about selling total knees. It’s about transforming the total joint industry as a whole. Because data drives value-based medicine, we think that TracPatch, powered by Watson AI technology, will become the gold standard of care in total joint replacement.

Soon, if a surgeon doesn’t use TracPatch to capture the patient’s real-time post-surgical data, he or she will be out of step with orthopedic surgical medicine. Consensus can partner with any healthcare provider looking to improve outcomes, reduce costs and enhance patient satisfaction. For the first time, we can combine and analyze outcome data from patients, surgeons, hospitals, techniques and even pain medication use.

Interested in learning more about IBM solutions for healthcare?

We can help providers predict and create individual treatment plans for their patients based on this vast body of evidence. This kind of personalized and optimized treatment planning will become increasingly important as the industry continues to focus on value-based medicine.

At Consensus, our job is to help patients and make a positive difference in their lives. By combining the TracPatch wearable technology with our strategic relationship with IBM Watson Health, Consensus is on the path to revolutionize surgical orthopedic care delivery.

Watch how Consensus is revolutionizing orthopedic medicine with IBM Watson-enabled TracPatch solution:


Michael Droege

Vice President of Global Business Development

Dr. Chris Leslie

Medical Director

More AI/Watson stories

Hit by a hurricane? InsurBot can help with your claim

Call centers at insurance companies face enormous pressure when natural disasters strike. Policyholders hurting from their losses need urgent help. But customer service agents can be overwhelmed by the spike in calls. That happened in recent years when a record number of hurricanes, floods and other disasters hit the United States. Policyholders were turned off […]

Continue reading

CIMON, the AI-powered robot, launches a new era in space travel

Outer space is unfriendly to humans. We can only exist in a contained environment with its own air supply, so that means working in very close quarters. Zero gravity means things don’t stay where you put them. Despite these constraints, astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) must be highly productive on a very tight […]

Continue reading

AI speeds document discovery, giving law firms a leg up

Here’s some food for thought on where technology fits into the legal profession. First, ask a hundred lawyers why they chose their calling. Then ask 100 clients how they want their law firms spending their time and racking up billable hours. The chances are that neither group mentioned the time-consuming drudgery of the early discovery, […]

Continue reading