Data-Driven Wound Care: A Business and Clinical Opportunity

April 9, 2021|Digital Wound Care|By Amy Cassata

Data-driven Wound Care

In order to more fully understand how data can be used in wound care management, our recent white paper, Data-Driven Wound Care: A Business and Clinical Opportunity, examines wound care within the context of the larger healthcare system. This allows us to highlight the ways that a data-driven approach leads to better results, not just for patients, but for healthcare providers as well. 

The Current State of Patient-Centric Wound Care

In order to frame the discussion that follows, the paper starts with a discussion of the complexities of patient-centric wound care. It then identifies the most significant challenges healthcare providers face in managing wound care, including how to manage information in ways that make effective analysis possible. This leads to a discussion of standardized records, and how they contribute to better clinical outcomes.

We have found that consistency in wound care documentation is a key factor in providing better outcomes for patients. To this end, the paper provides an overview of wound assessment tools and strategies, and outlines the benefits of using a dedicated wound care team or certified wound specialists and leveraging their expertise. We outline the data needed to perform a complete wound assessment, explain why careful wound measurement is essential, and how to design a care plan based on that assessment. 

We also take a close look at wound care from a generational perspective. Millennials embrace technology in all aspects of their everyday lives. They make the majority of healthcare decisions in the United States, they’ve already become the next generation of caregivers, and they’ll be the next generation of patients. Just as the impact of social media and social engagement on the millennial population should not be ignored, nor should their willingness to embrace and utilize digital sources.

Our research has revealed several interesting statistics. Here’s a sample:

  • Up to 20 percent of all U.S. legal medical claims, and more than 10 percent of legal settlements, are related to wounds.
  • A study at a Swedish hospital found that implementing best practice wound care guidelines, education and team coordination reduce the rate of lower-limb amputations in patients with diabetes by 60 percent.
  • A study at a long-term care facility in West Virginia found that the prevalence of pressure injuries was reduced by 77 percent over six months when more robust wound care data, provided by Swift Medical’s Skin and Wound Solution, was used to inform care decisions for problematic cases. This data also powered effective root cause analysis that resulted in mitigation of organizational problems.

How Big Data is Transforming Wound Care 

We investigate why and how linking information silos to real-world evidence enables more effective patient-centric care. Big data has the power to transform wound care, and our examination of the financial implications of wound care clearly shows that evidence-based treatment is more important than ever before. 

Swift Skin and Wound is currently being used in over 1,700 healthcare facilities, monitoring more than 200,000 patients every month. We’re generating a wealth of data, and that data is leading to new understanding and insights about treatment options for wounds that have so far evaded analysis. Our goal is to use this data to better predict the treatments that will be safest and most effective for individual patients.

While we’re still at the start of this process, we’re already seeing positive results: we’ve demonstrated, for example, that applying this big data to wound healing rates has yielded a predictive algorithm that’s more than twice as accurate as conventional PUSH-based calculations. We’re also using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to automatically identify tissue types and categorize wound stages. This is producing more consistent output, and when these approaches are also applied to patient risk measures and prognostic capabilities, the effectiveness of the care team is amplified even further. It’s about using technology to augment and enhance human interactions.

The Business Benefits of Data-Driven Wound Care

We show clearly that matching these data-driven approaches with specialized clinical skills will generate better insights, and ultimately, better outcomes for patients. We also outline the ways that using data in wound management can lead to improved funding outcomes: data proves that treatment methods are effective, and real-world data—that is, data collected routinely through clinical contact—is especially valuable in demonstrating that healthcare funds are being used effectively.  

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