America's largest company is teaming up with one of the country's largest private health insurers. Anthem (ELV -0.07%) on Wednesday announced a study designed in collaboration with Apple (AAPL -1.04%) that will examine how the iPhone and Apple Watch can help asthma patients manage their condition more effectively.

Anthem would like to reduce the amount of time its members spend in emergency care departments, and asthma is a condition in need of better solutions. Around 25 million Americans currently live with an asthma diagnosis, a condition that leads to nearly 1.8 million emergency medical visits annually. 

Apple Watch close up.

Apple Watch Series 5. Image source: Apple.

Anthem and Apple worked together on this study to seek evidence of changes in health outcomes associated with the use of new digital self-management tools. Investigators will also look for signs iPhone or Apple Watch can predict an upcoming asthma attack.

Some trial participants will be randomized into groups that have access to a digital asthma tool designed for the study. The specialized tool includes symptom- and trigger-tracking, plus personalized nudges that take cues from heart rate and blood-oxygen readings. 

In January, the world's leading manufacturer of blood-oximetry technology, Masimo (NASDAQ: MASI), filed a suit that accuses Apple of patent infringement. Masimo claims the company met with Apple to discuss a potential collaboration then immediately lured away key employees. Apple is also accused of using the company's technology to solve performance issues in Series 4 and Series 5 versions of the Apple Watch.

Anthem's new asthma study is slated to begin in the fall. Volunteers will receive an Apple Watch and a Beddit Sleep Monitor. The study also aims to offer participants complete control over their data.