TA Senior VP Kevin Keenahan in a podcast discusses the company’s focus, challenges and future
It was watching a wet-to-dry dressing change at The Johns Hopkins Hospital nearly a decade ago that convinced Kevin Keenahan, a biomedical engineering graduate student, that information technology could play a key role in improving wound care for both patients and practitioners.
Keenahan describes how his passion to transform wound care led to the founding and evolution of Tissue Analytics (TA), a Net Health company, in a new podcast on Net Health’s Wound Care Learning Network. The program takes listeners on a quick trip not only through Tissue Analytics’ history, but also the transformation of wound care documentation from pen and paper to smartphone-aided digital imaging and beyond.
Early Challenges in Digital Wound Care
When TA was launched in 2014, the company’s first priority was to make wound measurements more accurate, Keenahan recounts. Conventional “boxing” overestimated wound severity and leads to highly variable and imprecise measurements. The answer was a system that replaced manual measurements with automatic measurements derived from smartphone photographs. This technique uses computer vision to provide more precise and accurate measurements.
Using sophisticated algorithms and machine learning models to analyze patterns from its large wound database, TA developed a documentation solution that would quickly and accurately document, track and analyze wounds. Because it simplified the documentation process and made it more efficient, the technology also saved clinicians time in their daily documentation workflow. Today, clinicians spend nearly half their work day performing office-related tasks, such as documenting patient data in their electronic health record (EHR). TA sought to reduce that time by automating components of the clinicians’ wound assessments.
The next hurdle was integrating the software into the leading EHR systems in a way that would enable it to reach its full potential. TA worked with Epic, Cerner, and Allscripts over several years, but it was not until Net Health acquired the company last year that “we fully realized linking all pieces of the continuum,” Keenahan says, by integrating with Net Health Wound Care (previously Wound Expert).
Today TA focuses on continually improving the deployment of its system in both outpatient and inpatient wound care settings. For outpatient clinics, where clinicians still spend up to half their day on documentation, the primary value of the system is to accelerate clinical workflow and give clinicians more time to spend with patients.
For hospitals and other inpatient facilities, the emphasis is helping clients implement, standardize, or accelerate adoption of pressure injury prevention programs (PIPP). The product has demonstrated a robust process for reducing hospital-acquired pressure injuries (HAPIs) through a combination of workflow optimization and equipping floor nurses with automatic wound assessments.
Choosing an IT Partner
Having the right IT system enables hospitals and clinics to break down silos, solve inefficient EHR workflows, and improve care. Finding the right IT vendor requires obtaining references and asking current customers many questions, Keenahan advises. Integrations can be extremely challenging to get off the ground. It’s important to pick a vendor with a long track-record of working inside your specific EHR.
The Future of Wound Care
The emergence of “game-changing” predictive modeling and widespread use of analytics will continue to transform wound care, Keenahan believes. New imaging modalities are giving physicians better data on which to base decisions.
“There’s a lot of cool stuff out there now. I’m excited to see where Net Health Wound Care and the industry are going.”
Listen to the podcast, The Evolution of Tissue Analytics and its Future Within Wound Care, to learn more about how Tissue Analytics is helping to change the course of wound care.
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