“WoundExpert® and Tissue Analytics™ will be a gamechanger for the wound care industry across all environments of care.” – Kevin Keenahan
Net Health recently acquired Tissue Analytics, Inc., a pioneering developer of automated mobile wound and skin imaging and predictive analytics solutions, expanding Net Health’s leadership position within the wound care market and accelerating the delivery of next-generation wound care technology solutions. Tissue Analytics applications will be integrated with Net Health’s industry-leading WoundExpert® EHR solution to add key capabilities for hospital outpatient settings. The combination of both companies’ solutions will offer unmatched capabilities in wound care and serve every setting from hospital to home.
With Tissue Analytics now a part of Net Health, we wanted to talk to Kevin Keenahan, SVP of Business Development at Net Health and Co-Founder of Tissue Analytics, Inc, to welcome him and learn more about why this move is a gamechanger for wound care.
Now that Net Health and Tissue Analytics are under the same roof, how do you envision it will impact the wound care market?
We’re very fortunate that Net Health shares our vision to create a fully connected wound care continuum. We can now follow a patient across every care setting and, more importantly, follow their outcomes across each part of the process, from inpatient wound care to the post-acute care space — that’s our ultimate goal. We’re very excited about harmonizing outcomes and patient flow between those various settings, and I think fundamentally and historically, no one has been able to do this kind of data analytics because no one has had as high quality and large of a data set as what comes with the partnership between Tissue Analytics and Net Health.
Were you aware of WoundExpert prior to the acquisition? If so, what were your thoughts on the product, and what was the biggest deciding factor in joining Net Health?
Tissue Analytics was familiar with WoundExpert back when we started the company in 2014, and soon after incorporating, we started having conversations with Net Health. We’ve always looked to Net Health as a model for how to scale a SaaS business in the wound care industry.
Ultimately, we decided to join Net Health because WoundExpert is used in so many different clinics, around 90% market penetration in totality. We wanted to create a fully interconnected wound care continuum, where we could follow a patient and aggregate data from the inpatient setting all the way into post-acute, and the outpatient clinics tend to be the hub at the center of that wheel. We don’t believe we’d have the type of market impact that we wanted without plugging in very intimately with WoundExpert.
Prior to Tissue Analytics being founded in 2014, do you recall the moment or situation where you realized a market need for the solutions your company would ultimately develop?
Josh Budman (Co-founder of Tissue Analytics and Net Health’s VP of Wound Care Analytics) and I were going through a biomedical engineering master’s program at Johns Hopkins University called the Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID). Biomedical engineers typically rotate through different clinical settings, like the neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery, and surgical oncology departments.
While we were in that program, we saw a wet-to-dry dressing change in the ICU, which is the practice of packing a deep wound with wet gauze, waiting for it to dry, and then kind of ripping it out – it’s a horrifyingly painful experience for the patient and a stark contrast compared to what we had seen in other parts of medicine. As an elective rotation, we spent some time in the wound clinic at Hopkins, getting a sense of why wound care is needed, how chronic wound care patients are treated, and more specifically, how outcomes were documented and communicated across different care settings.
We saw how difficult it is for clinicians to reach agreement with patients on how the wound is actually progressing and that’s where we synthesized this idea. At its core, Tissue Analytics is a computer vision platform to automatically and objectively measure wounds.
COVID has had an impact on all businesses and their plans for the future. How has Tissue Analytics’ business strategies and focus adapted to the radical changes caused by the pandemic?
Tissue Analytics was lucky to have some extremely good partners that encouraged us to explore telemedicine as early as a couple of years ago. We started working with Kaiser Permanente in Southern California to build a mobile version of Tissue Analytics that was suited for patient use, which is very different from our core provider application. Of course, patients can only see their own data, and we had to completely rethink the way that we were authenticating patients to make it easy and intuitive for them to learn. We’re still working to make it even easier for patients, but the app makes the transition towards more virtual wound care much easier. Very early on in the pandemic and before the acquisition, we made the commitment to make that application available for all customers and we’re very hopeful that it’ll play a much bigger part in wound management in the future.
As technological advances like A.I and Machine Learning continue, how do you see that positively affecting your solutions? Where do you see your product and its capabilities in 5 years?
Our software is built using computer vision and machine learning, which is essentially training algorithms to automate tasks that humans would typically do. Tissue Analytics, in its implementation of AI, has trained algorithms to automatically measure the border between healthy skin and wound tissue. Once we have that border, we take it a couple of steps further and classify the tissues that are present inside the wound. We have a very large data set at our disposal now, and we’re working very diligently to do things like automatically staging pressure injuries and automatically measuring certain peri-wound conditions like erythema.
I think the element that will have the biggest impact on the market as a whole is what we can do from a predictive modeling point of view. Having access to the largest database in the market unlocks to the ability to provide guidance on how long certain wounds will take to heal, and ultimately, what products or protocols will be able to improve outcomes. The idea is to train other machine learning algorithms and other AI algorithms to recommend products and predict the most effective products or protocols.
What value does the combination of Tissue Analytics and WoundExpert bring to wound care?
Tissue Analytics in its current form is a workflow automation tool for WoundExpert, allowing clinicians to get through their day faster by reducing time spent on documentation – this is one area we’ve become very passionate about in recent years. Our philosophy is to automate as much of the documentation process as possible using machine learning so clinicians can have more time with patients. With our products, goals, and philosophies combined, we believe we’ll significantly advance the goal of reconnecting caregivers with their calling.
Webinar Offers Information on Latest Wound Care Technologies
Net Health recently hosted a webinar given by Kara Couch, director of inpatient wound care at George Washington University, on “Top Digital Techniques to Reduce Hospital-Acquired Pressure Injuries.”