Every wound care provider knows that chronic wounds can be difficult to heal, treat and analyze. One reason they are so vexing is that there is a myriad of factors that can impact healing. One important factor is time; for many patients, wound healing can take well over a year.1 For those patients with non-healing chronic wounds, providers may have to sift through dozens of wound assessments to really understand how or if a wound is healing.
Finding ways to analyze wounds and determine which are at risk for non-healing is difficult but important. It’s vital to understand how or if a chronic wound is healing in order to understand the effectiveness of your plan of care. As we build wound care technology for clinicians, we focus on three key areas:
- Gather wound data in one centralized, accessible location
- Analyze the gathered data
- Ensure insights are shareable amongst a wound care team
Technology Changing Paradigm
Prior to the early 2000s, measurement by rulers, paper chart reviews, recollections and conversations with colleagues was how wound progress was often analyzed. The introduction of wound care outcome tracking technology has changed that paradigm starting in the early 2000s. Well-configured EHR platforms that can track healing progress have been shown to have a positive influence on wound outcomes.2 More recently, the growth of mobile technologies brings consistency and accuracy to wound measurement regardless of the clinician’s wound measurement methodology.3
Now with advancements in data storage, artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive modeling, EHR views can be amended to not just track progress over time, but also make predictions about the future. Centralized and aggregated documentation views allows clinicians to see the full history of a wound while also providing new information to clinicians based on novel predictive algorithms. Best of all, technology provides the information doctors and wound care nurses need to understand if their current plan of care is working and, if not, what needs to be done next to promote healing.
Create Effective Wound Analysis Processes
Developing a proper Wound Analysis process includes a number of steps. The analysis should start after the first examination of the wound is completed. A Wound Analysis report should consist of the wound description, picture analysis, a graph of the progress (or lack of), and a detailed progress comparison report of tunneling, length, width, and depth measurements to be most effective. Other valuable features include wound area/volume progress, a summary of procedures and products used, ensuring best practices are followed. A section for notes from all providers is also helpful.
Two additional useful features are wound healing predictions and identifying those injuries that are at risk for possible amputation. Net Health has pioneered the technology that makes gaining these insights possible.
Our Wound Healing Velocity features, available in Net Health Wound Care, includes several graphs representing the likelihood that a patient’s wound will heal within 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks, or 16 weeks from the start of treatment. The information displayed on the graphs is generated by predictive algorithms, which have been trained on our massive historical data set (one of the largest in the world). As a result, the data shown in this section is unique to the patient and the wound. While a significant step forward, note that the Wound Healing Velocity section is not intended to supersede independent clinical judgment or institutional protocols.
Risk of Amputation
The Risk of Amputation Indicator in Net Health Wound Care is a predictive analytics tool that informs clinicians of the likelihood that a wound will lead to eventual amputation. It offers a more-informed, real-time assessment of risk that is backed by powerful predictive modeling, trained on decades of specialty wound care data.
The indicator clearly informs clinicians of the current risk of amputation for the specific patient, indicating risk as lowest, low, medium, high, and highest. The assessment is determined using information about the specific patient’s current and previous wound characteristics (e.g., body part, wound type, granulation, pain), historical comorbidities, demographics (e.g., age, race, sex), and other factors. Based on the Risk of Amputation indicator, clinicians can take action to reduce the risk of severe treatments.
Winning the Battle Against Non-Healing Wounds
Wound Analysis is a critical step in the battle against non-healing wounds. Wound Analysis – and new technologies – promise to create more wins for providers looking for optimal ways to help their patients suffering from wounds.
We are excited about the future of wound care software and would love to tell you more about what we are working on. Check out our eBook, The Future of Wound Care: Predictive Analytics, here and our Predicting Wound Healing Fact Sheet.
1 Frykberg RG, Banks J. Challenges in the Treatment of Chronic Wounds. Adv Wound Care. Sept. 2015.
2 Bitner J, Sachdev U, Hager ES, Dillavou ED. Standardized care protocol and modifications to electronic medical records to facilitate venous ulcer healing. J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord. July 2019.
3 Budman J, Keenahan K, Acharya S, Brat GA. Design of A Smartphone Application for Automated Wound Measurements for Home Care. iproc. July 2015.
The Future of Wound Care: Predictive Analytics
Changing the way wound care clinics operate and treat patients.