Advancing wound care technology

Wound care is complex, time-intensive and crucial to reimbursements. Wounds need to be measured and documented on a regular basis to track changes in size and condition. These days, the wound care nurse’ s main measuring tool—the paper ruler—is being replaced by hand-held camera technology that can record wound dimensions, color changes, tunneling and more with the click of a button.

Skin and wound care apps that tackled documentation accuracy and measurement standardization in wound tracking were among the hottest new technology at the 2016 American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living conference in Nashville, Tennessee. PointClickCare, with U.S. headquarters in Bloomington, Minnesota, has launched a wound assessment solution that uses the iPhone platform to photograph the wound and process the image though the application’s software, which measures the perimeter and documents the main tissue colors. The nurse can add dozens of other data elements right from the iPhone, including slough, granulation, eschar, notes of infection and more.

The image-capture technology adds an element of consistency to how wounds are measured, and the software’s dashboard can calculate the risks right at the bedside. The application sends the data into the electronic health record, making it accessible to other caregivers with app permissions. Subsequent images can be viewed in a series, making it easy to see the changes over time. “It’s a great way to share the wound progression with the resident or family, since they may not be able to see the real wound,” says Genice Hornberger, PointClickCare.

Fairfax, Virginia-based eKare, offers 3D wound assessment algorithms on an iPad platform, including a proprietary camera attachment. The captured data can be uploaded to the cloud, creating access for remote consults and integration with electronic health records. The system measures dimension and wound depth, calculating the slightest change in shape or area.

“The current methodology for measuring wounds is inaccurate and not reproducible,” noted Thomas Serena, MD, FACS, CEO and Medical Director of the SerenaGroup, an eKare client. “It is essential that we incorporate advanced imaging techniques in assessing healing in our patients. It will allow us to identify patients in need of advanced potentially limb salvaging procedures earlier on in the course of their treatment.”

Topics: Clinical , Infection control , MDS/RAI