Value of tissue analysis for remote care highlighted in research from Australia’s Virtual Wound Care program
Net Health, a leading provider of specialized electronic health record (EHR) systems and advanced healthcare analytics, has announced the results of a groundbreaking study of a promising wound care model. The results showed that Net Health® Tissue Analytics, the company’s AI-powered wound imaging and analysis software, helps clinicians provide faster access to wound care services, empowers patients to communicate more quickly with their specialists and improves the management of chronic wounds in remote populations.
Net Health Tissue Analytics is a premier wound imaging and documentation solution that applies computer vision to images taken with traditional smartphones or tablets to automatically measure and document wound healing. The technology was recently granted breakthrough device status by the FDA for future development initiatives, becoming one of the few digital health solutions to achieve such recognition. It is one of the most widely used wound care technology platforms in the United States and has begun expanding internationally. Net Health’s partner in Australia is Virtualcare, a digital health company working with leading healthcare organisations.
An Australian study featured in a major industry journal
The lead author of the study is Michelle Barakat-Johnson. The “first online edition” of The Viability and Acceptability of a Virtual Wound Care Command Center in Australia is open access and available online now from the International Wound Journal. The final published article is expected in the first quarter of 2023. The study is based on findings from the Australian New South Wales (NSW) Health Service. The objective of the study was to determine whether wound care delivered remotely using the Tissue Analytics platform was effective and well received by patients.
NSW researchers looked at how Net Health Tissue Analytics was used as part of a virtual wound care command center (eWCC) by wound specialists, including nurses, podiatrists and doctors, at nine centers dealing with podiatry and vascular outpatient clinics, general community nursing and specialist wound care services such as vascular and endovascular surgery.
Patients participating in the study took images of their wounds and provided relevant information through the digital platform using the app’s clinician interface, who would then notify the specialist to review the report and sort if necessary. Wound specialists would enter treatment plan data and respond to the participant, supporting remote wound care assessment and management.
Results Highlights Role of tissue analysis in the success of eWCC
The study found that people with chronic wounds receiving remote wound care services through the eWCC using tissue analysis experienced faster access to wound care services; better communication with their wound specialist; spent more time with clinicians, which encourages engagement and buy-in; and gained autonomy to better manage their injuries. A post-trial survey of participants also provided important information.
- Timely access to care increased (from 91.7 to 98.5%)
- Improved communication (from 90.3 to 97%)
- Travel requirements were easier (from 65.5 to 69.5%)
The researchers also highlighted the favorable ratings given by patients and clinicians to Tissue Analytics, pointing out that the app saved patients time and money, especially on travel costs, as it limited the number many times you had to see a wound specialist in person. It is estimated that participants saved several hundred dollars on travel costs. Less travel has also led to the greater good of reducing CO2 emissions.
“You don’t have to wait so long for feedback, or you don’t feel like you’re out of touch, which usually helps because you can at least get a quicker response if you worry about something”, notes the patient. Another, a 61-year-old man who had bilateral forefoot amputation injuries and lived in a rural community, shared that being able to converse with a wound specialist in this way was both reassuring and convenient.
Based on the study results, the researchers recommend the continued expansion of digital wound care in the healthcare network.
Net Health’s mission is to harness data for human health. Net Health solutions are approved in over 23,000 facilities across the continuum of care. Our EHR software enables caregivers and their organizations to effectively engage with patients, streamline documentation, efficiently equip staff, achieve appropriate maximum reimbursement, and maintain regulatory compliance. Our unique approach to analytics transparently presents insights into clinical and operational workflows to improve care and business performance. Net Health is a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group, Level Equity and Silversmith Capital Partners. www.nethealth.com.
Virtualcare is an Australian digital health company that provides solutions to the toughest challenges in healthcare. We partner with leading healthcare companies to bring breakthrough technology solutions to healthcare organizations in Australia and New Zealand. Virtualcare represents Net Health Tissue Analytics in Australia and New Zealand. www.virtual-care.com.au