February 22, 2024 | Net Health

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The Role of Technology in Transforming Wound Care Management in 2024

Modern Wound Care Technology

Wound care technology in 2024 will reflect some of the biggest changes happening in all sectors of technology: The rise of artificial intelligence in wound care and the use of big data to provide better care.

Grandview Research estimates that the global wound care market will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 4.17% between 2024 and 2030. With an aging population and a steady increase in patients with chronic health issues, there is a growing need for advanced methods of wound healing. Companies that have been keeping pace with the technological changes in medicine are poised to bring AI and big data to the waiting room and improve outcomes for millions.

Grandview notes, “Emerging trends towards tailoring wound care treatments to individual patient characteristics, including genetics and specific wound conditions, are gaining attention, leading to more personalized and targeted interventions.”

Healthcare providers will be expected to maintain their records diligently and use all of the data at their disposal to identify and treat wounds effectively.

These trends are accelerating in 2024 as an explosion of AI and machine learning technology leaps out of the realm of science fiction and into our everyday lives. Rather than simply being a novelty, we have found ways to revolutionize healthcare delivery, improve patient outcomes, create new efficiencies for understaffed teams, and develop a new standard of care for wound treatment. Read on for some of the biggest advancements we expect to see in wound care technology in 2024.

AI-driven innovation will transform wound care technology

Wound care requires attention to detail and a deep understanding of the complex factors that can influence healing. Providers who use wound care technology to enhance their knowledge database and aggregate learnings will be able to identify needs, obstacles, and best treatment methods quickly and effectively. Databases like Net Health’s, with 97 million wound images, provide a new way for medical professionals to access a wealth of knowledge. This kind of forward-thinking use of AI uses 3D mobile imaging to identify wounds and provide actionable insights, so providers spend less time experimenting and more time delivering targeted treatment.

On-the-spot assessment and documentation of a wound through 3D technology compares the wound to millions of others, searching for size, qualities of the wound, and color. Aggregating this information digitally allows technology to do the work of evaluation and determining the best treatment. Big data supports medical professionals in making informed decisions about wound care and increases the chance of a full recovery.

AI is also used to monitor changes over time to the same wound. Technology that measures tissue damage and the size, depth, and color of the wound can compare minute changes over time to suggest treatment plans that are personalized to the healing rate or problems that impede treatment. This information will save time and reduce errors. It leads to greater accuracy and highly curated treatment plans.

Advanced specialty electronic health records will be the gold standard for wound care

The move to embrace electronic health records has been years in the making. Privacy, access to personal information, and portability of records are all great reasons to champion this change. Instant access to records becomes even more essential for those with complex medical histories and chronic wounds. Records can be shared between providers, and patients can access information and schedule appointments with a click.

Specialized electronic health records (EHRs) can facilitate sharing of information about wound care among different providers and settings. For example, a patient with a chronic wound may need to visit a primary care physician, a wound care specialist, a home health nurse, and a physical therapist. Each of these providers can access the patient’s electronic health record and update it with relevant information, such as wound assessment, treatment plan, progress, and outcomes. This way, the patient receives continuity of care and avoids duplication of tests or procedures.

Electronic health records can also enhance communication and collaboration among providers, as they can exchange messages, images, and documents through secure platforms. This can improve the quality and efficiency of wound care and prevent complications or infections.

One of the benefits of electronic health records is that they can be standardized and interoperable, meaning that they can be easily read and understood by different systems and platforms. This can enable AI to analyze the data and provide insights and recommendations for wound care. AI can help identify patterns, trends, and risk factors for wound healing and suggest optimal treatments and interventions.

By leveraging AI, electronic health records can enhance the quality and effectiveness of wound care and improve patient outcomes and satisfaction as healing is examined holistically through comprehensive record keeping.

Quality of life will be measured and incorporated into wound care technology in 2024

It is essential to look at patients holistically to promote healing. This is particularly true when it comes to wound care because these patients nearly always have underlying or comorbid conditions. Everything from chronic conditions like diabetes and mobility restrictions to social stress and depression can have an effect on wound healing.

Wearable technology can keep records and track physical changes in a home or skilled nursing care environment without the constant monitoring of an acute care facility. These devices have become much more than expensive heart rate monitors. They now take note of minor changes, detect symptoms that may elude physicians, and take the guesswork out of diagnosis. Gathering a breadth of information from the patient will fill in gaps in oral reporting and give providers a holistic view of a patient’s health and risk factors. With a multitude of conditions to parse and treat, additional wearable technology that assesses all areas of life and health will inform treatment and prevent recurring wounds and conditions.

Measures like the Wound-QoL (wound quality of life) scale questionnaire and similar measures will give providers additional information about a patient’s physical and emotional well-being. Understanding that chronic wounds can also affect mood, sleep, mobility, eating, and social interactions and that wound healing is also impacted by these factors allows physicians to address all aspects of health. Wound care technology in 2024 will encompass much more than skin tissue. It will care for the whole person and demand attention for every measure of well-being.

Wound care products will continue to evolve quickly

Biomedical treatment will continue evolving in 2024, revolutionizing how we view and treat chronic wounds. Skin grafting and gene therapy are fairly standard practices now, and soon, other new technologies will also be accessible to the majority of patients.

Some new wound care technologies we will see come to the market in 2024 include:

  • Smart bandages. Flexible bandages can monitor and deliver drugs to the wound site, as well as communicate with smartphones or other devices to alert patients and providers of any changes or complications.
  • Nanomaterials. Super customizable materials made from zinc oxide, silver, or gold can enhance wound healing, prevent infection, and reduce scarring by improving tissue regeneration or releasing bioactive molecules.
  • Bioengineered skin substitutes. Synthetic or biological materials, such as stem cells, growth factors, or collagen, can replace damaged or lost skin tissue and promote regeneration.
  • Wearable sensors. Small, flexible sensors provide real-time evaluation of physiological parameters, such as temperature, oxygen, pH, and moisture, and provide real-time feedback and guidance for optimal wound management.
  • Thermal imaging. No matter the pigment of the skin or the quality of the photo, thermal imaging can detect small changes in a wound and recommend course-correcting treatment before the human eye notices.

Efficiency and time management for overworked providers will be essential

Staffing will continue to be a challenge for hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare systems. Burnout, moving into administrative roles, and a diminishing pipeline of new talent are all contributing to staffing shortages. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing reported that 100,000 nurses quit their jobs during the pandemic, and in November 2023, 56% of nurses reported burnout. Sixty-five percent of rural providers reported a shortage of physicians in 2023.

With this grim reality, healthcare systems are forced to find efficiencies where they can without sacrificing patient outcomes. Allowing technology to take over time-consuming manual labor and data entry tasks is not only possible in 2024—it will be necessary for maintaining workforce well-being and freeing up more time to dedicate to patients. Wound care technology that monitors the progress of healing, compares information in a database, and quickly returns recommendations for best practices can help make up for a lack of time.

Streamlining data collection and evaluating years of health records can now be done instantly with AI. Electronic health records and AI assistants will open communication between various providers, highlight inconsistencies, and improve continuity of care, particularly for those with chronic wounds. The best way to support an overworked staff is to provide technology that supports their efforts and streamlines processes, removing as much time-consuming paperwork as possible.

Healthcare is embracing technology in 2024. From AI and big data to state-of-the-art materials, providers will incorporate new wound care technology into their regular practice this year to shorten in-patient stay time, ease workload stress, and create better patient outcomes. Wound care technology continues to evolve quickly, and healthcare systems will need to embrace these changes to continue to work profitably and maintain top talent.

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