When we take a picture of our pets or our latest experience with latte art to share with our friends we usually don’t stop to think about calibrating our smartphone camera first. The same can’t necessarily be said about wound photography.
Achieving a high-level of accuracy and consistency in wound measurement is an important consideration for skilled nursing facilities. The consequences of poor calibration, and resultant inaccurate wound image can be dire. Lawsuits stemming from pressure injuries, one of the most common types of wounds and a leading cause for civil litigation in skilled nursing facilities, have settled for upwards of $300M. When a case is launched, they end up settling in favor of the plaintiff more than 85% of the time.¹
To help improve the accuracy and consistency of wound measurements, Swift Medical has developed the HealX.
What is HealX?
The small blue sticker you see beside wounds in Swift photos is called the HealX. It’s small yet powerful – and is a critical part of how the Swift Skin and Wound platform works. Deceptively simple in appearance, the HealX is a carefully engineered, precision manufactured adhesive fiducial marker. A fiducial marker is an object placed in the field of view of an imaging system, which appears in the image produced, for use as a point of reference or measure.
The HealX has 2 main functions:
- The HealX helps a user take accurate and consistent wound images, regardless of different lighting, body position or camera settings.
- The HealX communicates with the Swift Skin and Wound software when it is captured in the photograph, and provides the visual/spatial context required to enable the application to generate clinically accurate wound measurements–including the length, width, surface area depth.
In this way, HealX is a big part of what separates wound images taken with Swift Skin and Wound, from common photography taken without anything to help calibrate the image.
Clinicians love this because not only are they taking better wound images, providing a visual story of the wound healing progression, but the automatic measurements mean they can get rid of the paper ruler–and all the variability in measurements (almost 50%) that comes with it.
How Does it Work?
It all starts with the box. A unique, custom designed self-peeling dispenser allows for easy grasping, even with a gloved hand.
Simply place the HealX next to the skin alteration and begin imaging the wound with the Swift Skin and Wound mobile application. This is when the HealX starts to shine, helping guide you to align your mobile device and photograph the wound from the optimal distance and position.
The precision-manufactured HealX design elements help the software calibrate the wound photo for color, lighting and size–all in real time on your mobile device. Next, the software automatically and accurately traces the wound and calculates clinically validated measurements. HealX is foundational to ensuring the high accuracy and consistency of these wound images.
What’s more, all of these captured data points are available at the next visit, and are also stored in web-based administrative dashboards, accessible from anywhere by authorized users. Now you can accurately track wound healing progression over time, and have a handy visual journey to see how the wound is changing, which studies show is also great for patient engagement.
Is it Safe?
Yes! We’ve gone to great lengths to ensure HealX is safe to use (when taking a couple of common sense precautions). We build the HealX with quality materials, including certified bio-compatible medical adhesives designed to be light-release for sensitive skin. This means you can be assured HealX will not cause adverse skin reactions or pain. HealX is manufactured under strict quality control and quality management systems. Swift Medical is ISO 13485 certified, which means we adhere to industry-standard quality measures mandated in the design and manufacture of medical devices. HealX is an FDA-registered Class I medical device, as is the Swift Skin and Wound software. Ours is the only FDA-registered device able to calibrate for scale, size and color with a single marker.
Why is it Important?
As a clinician, you will be taking wound images at different times of day, in different lights, and in different rooms. You need to be confident that whether the wound is healing or not, the photographs will reflect the truth and are properly calibrated. And to do this, wound images must be consistent and comparable.
Perhaps the wound isn’t changing, but uncalibrated photographs taken from different angles or in different lighting might obscure the image to make it seem like a wound has changed size. Using calibrated wound photography, with the help of HealX, ensures that any time you take a picture the same colors and scale are used.
Some vendors don’t have a calibrant sticker at all, meaning you won’t be getting the highest quality of standardized images. This could affect assessment quality, treatment decisions, and healing progression. It would even hurt you in court.
For more advice on improving the standard of your skilled nursing facility’s wound care program, check out our latest blog Tips for Maximizing the Accuracy & Consistency of Wound Measurements.
And to see the HealX in action for yourself, contact us today to book a demo.
¹ Voss, A. C., Bender, S. A., Ferguson, M. L., Sauer, A. C., Bennett, R. G., & Hahn, P. W. (2005). Long‐Term Care Liability for Pressure Ulcers: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 53(9), 1587-1592.