Information designed to be an easy-to-use resource for busy clinicians
Wound measurement and documentation are vital parts of a patient’s wound care journey. Accurate tracking helps to determine treatment efficacy and provides critical information to ensure optimal patient and wound outcomes. Proper documentation impacts everything from penalties and reimbursement to quality ratings and operational efficiency.
And those are just some of the reasons why ensuring accurate wound measurement is addressed.
For decades, wound measurement has been conducted using rulers and often subjective measurement standards that vary between practices and even between clinicians within the same practice. Over the years, there have been initiatives to better standardize wound measurement. However, despite best efforts, difficulties remain in accounting for preferences, human error and other factors that naturally impact how one individual measures an organic object vs. another.
The advent of digital imaging, as pioneered by Tissue Analytics, a Net Health Company, began to change that dynamic. Through technology, what used to be done manually can now be completed digitally and with a much higher degree of efficiency and accuracy. With Tissue Analytics, the measurement error is <4% vs. 44% using traditional rulers.1
Tissue Analytics Wound Measurement Checklist
While digital imaging is simple, there are still best practices to follow. To ensure optimal wound measurements are captured consistently, we are providing a handy checklist on how to measure wounds using digital tools.
While this guide covers only part of the steps to ensure optimal measurement, it’s a helpful resource for you and your team as you streamline and maximize the value of the digital wound measurement process.
Measurement Matters: How to Obtain Optimal Dimensions on Any Wound
Start at the Beginning: Your Patient
The first step to accurate measurement doesn’t begin with pulling out your smartphone, or mobile device and its wound care measurement app; it starts with getting to know your patient. It’s estimated that 90% of correct diagnoses are made by gathering a thorough patient history, physical examination and analysis of basic medical tests.2 One of the benefits of digital tools is that they save time, enabling clinicians to spend more time with patients. Use that time well. Before turning to your digital device, sit down with your patient and their family or caregivers.
Ask about family history, habits, the home environment and what they’ve noticed about their condition. A thorough review of the patient’s medical history, laboratory tests, medications, and diet can also help the clinician gather pertinent data to identify the underlying cause that is preventing wound healing. This, in turn, helps a clinician plan the most effective care for that patient’s wound.
Once the vital foundation of getting to know the patient and their clinical history is established, providers can proceed to the steps necessary to ensure accurate measurement using a digital tool. Steps you’ll want to take include placing an image marker above the wound to calibrate size and color calibration, providing an accurate description of the wound for documentation purposes, and ensuring you have documentation views that can accurately summarize the wound status to be shared with other providers in the patient’s care network.
Using an acronym for the word CODE is one way to communicate vital wound care data. You’ll want to, at minimum, document Color, Odor, Drainage and Exudate in addition to wound measurements.
And while it’s important to use technology as a tool, remember to document additional observations to ensure the best possible guidance for wound treatment and monitoring.
How you measure, document and share your findings is essential to improving patient and wound outcomes. This infographic is an overview only of steps to measure wounds. There are other essential wound care workflows to incorporate. Ensure your organization and team are aware of industry-accepted best practices, provide frequent education on the topic, use the resources of your vendors, and study literature and other materials to stay on top of what’s new and working. Give you and your colleagues the tools and resources to measure and document wounds efficiently and well.
1Automated Wound Measurement Saves Time, Tissue Analytics, Lancaster General Health Innovation Center, case study. Available upon request.
2Wu, Barry J. History Taking in Reverse: Beginning with the Social History. Consultant360. January 2013.
3Thomas Hess, Cathy. Comprehensive Patient and Wound Assessment. Advances I Skin and Wound Care. June 2019.