There was a time, not too long ago, when rulers and even the old-school method of “eyeballing” were used to gather data on wounds. That was then, this is now. Today we have smart phones, artificial intelligence (AI), and even predictive analytics to help diagnose, assess, and more effectively treat wounds.
This technology can be used on any kind of wound, from diabetic ulcers to burns, and in any setting, from hospitals to outpatient clinics. All of today’s wound care innovations share common goals: to provide more focused treatments that lead to better outcomes.
We’ve come a long way
To see how far we’ve come, it helps to take a gander at where we’ve been. Understandably, while well-meaning and the best options for the time, traditional methods for assessing wound care were often inaccurate.
What’s more, such methods of measuring wounds often vary from clinician to clinician. And, because these assessments are done manually, there’s always the chance for errors as they are logged by a human into the electronic medical record (EMR).
Now, things are changing. Using advanced machine learning technologies, tools are being developed that allow for accurate wound area measurements as well as objective tissue composition analysis.
Exciting and important innovations
Here’s a quick summary of some of the latest innovations in wound care:
- Smartphone Cameras – high-resolution videos filmed on smartphones can now build 3D models of wounds and accurately calculate wound depth. These insights provide a wealth of important clinical information such as estimating skin substitutes needed for burn patients.
- Clinical decision support – a mobile platform can help rural hospitals or clinics that don’t have wound care experts virtually access guidelines and support.
- Point-of-Care-Devices – area measurement is not the only relevant factor in wound assessment. Point-of-care devices that measure variables related to bacterial infection and perfusion can now be integrated via application programming interfaces (API) to a mobile application which circumvents EMRs and provides faster access/sharing of data.
- Remote patient monitoring – allows patients to take photos and measurements from anywhere in the world and the photos are sent through a secure cloud portal to their provider. The provider can diagnose and treat, as well as send reminders and alerts to patients to ensure timely submission of photos.
- Exploratory data analysis. Because of technology, it’s now easier to leverage independent studies to measure real-world effectiveness of therapies and conduct other research that can lead to promising new products.
Creating better workflow
One of the more practical innovations in wound care is the drive to greater interoperability across different EMRs. New technologies are making it easier for disparate systems to communicate, meaning hospitals and clinics with different EMRs can more readily share patient data.
Interoperability will help to significantly improve workflow efficiencies, and ensure clinicians have more time for hands-on patient care, and less time sitting in front of screens.
For more information on the latest innovations in wound care, please check out the original article by Tobe Madu at Today’s Wound Clinic.
Webinar Offers More Information on Latest 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.”