Digital wound management tools

Topic Status Complete

Digital tools for the monitoring and management of wounds.

Outcome of the appraisal

 

The use of integrated digital wound management systems shows promise to assess and manage people receiving wound care, but the evidence is insufficient to support routine adoption.

The current evidence suggests that some integrated digital wound management systems can accurately measure surface area, but not depth or volume, for some but not all wounds. There is, however, insufficient evidence on how these technologies impact on clinical management and patient outcomes.

The use of integrated digital wound management systems has the potential to reduce healthcare resource use, but no convincing evidence of this is currently available.

Further research to explore uncertainties in the clinical and cost effectiveness of these technologies is recommended.

Why was this topic appraised?

 

Wound care occurs in different settings and is provided by a range of different healthcare professionals. Best-practice requires regular patient and wound assessment with accurate documentation of the wound and of the treatment plan. In practice, usual care varies widely and documentation can be inadequate.

Integrated digital wound management systems (DWMS) consist of a point-of-care digital device capable of measuring wounds automatically and recording the full wound assessment. Documentation is uploaded to a central dashboard, for remote review by wound specialists and for caseload management. The systems can also send wound assessment information to individual patient electronic health records. The use of DWMS has been proposed to improve wound management.

The topic was submitted to HTW by a commercial manufacturer.

Plain language summary

 

Wounds, or injuries that break the skin or other body tissues, can include such things as cuts, scrapes, scratches and punctured skin. They often happen because of an accident, but surgery, sutures, and stitches can also cause wounds. Certain wounds are more likely to occur in certain situation, such as being bed-bound or having fragile skin. Minor wounds don’t usually need to be seen by doctors, but more serious wounds can require medical attention and take longer to heal. These wounds can include things like diabetic foot ulcers, burns, surgical site wounds, pressure sores and deep cuts.

Looking after a serious wound until it is healed can be a long process that requires lots of monitoring and input from different healthcare professionals. The wound needs to be regularly checked to see how it is healing. This includes taking pictures of the wound, measuring the size of the wound, and considering the wound’s condition (such as it’s colour, if there is anything leaking from the wound, or any signs of infection or other complications).

The wound may need to be seen by a range of healthcare professionals, from GPs to specialists and district nurses.  Wounds can be treated, dressed and cared for at home or in the community by carers, patients and professionals, but it may also be necessary to go to hospital. This makes wound care a complicated process with lots of information that needs to be shared. As a result, caring for a wound can have a huge impact on someone’s life and wellbeing. Gathering and sharing accurate and up-to-date information on the wound is therefore very important not only for wound healing but the whole process of wound management.

Integrated Digital Wound Management Systems (DWMS) use a digital device to take full pictures of the wound in 3D and use software to automatically measure the wound and gather other information, such as the condition of the skin around the wound. This is proposed to be more accurate than using a ruler or tape to measure the wound. These devices can store all the information about the wound so it can be viewed by healthcare professionals. This may mean that a person’s wound can be seen and assessed without the need to attend an appointment.

Health Technology Wales looked for evidence on the use of several DWMS. There is insufficient evidence to make a recommendation and further research is advised.

 

Topic Exploration Report

TER410/411 02.2023

Evidence Appraisal Review

EAR051 11.2023

Guidance

GUI051 11.2023

GUI
View PDF

Our advice documents are free to download but we would be grateful if you could help us improve our services by telling us why you are looking at our advice.

Skip form and download file Close

    We may like to contact you by email to find out more about how you used the documents.