Most of us take for granted the healing of a wound, but it is essential for surviving day-to-day knocks and cuts, not to mention surgeries. Chronic wounds have become a major global burden, and we are spending around 2-4 percent of overall health expenditure on treating wounds. The burden is most likely to increase dramatically as the population ages and the incidence of diabetes, obesity and vascular disorders grows.
The best treatment for chronic wounds is preventing the wound from progressing to a chronic state by avoiding risk factors and removing the underlying cause of the wound. Maintaining proper hygiene and wound care, together with regular inspection of the wound is vital to track and assess the healing progress. However, the only good way of tracking wound healing is using a ruler to measure the dimensions of the wound, a technique based on visual approximation and prone to error.
The Baltimore-based telehealth startup Tissue Analytics is developing an app that can measure and quantify the wound healing process by using a smartphone camera. From a photo alone, they can determine the surface area, length and width of the wound, as well as the contraction rates. The pictures and data is then automatically uploaded to a web portal, where specialist doctors are able to log in to manage multiple patients remotely.
The new imaging system mean that nurses, who usually perform the manual ruler measurements, save an estimated 50% documentation time. There is no need for new equipment or new guidelines, just a simple intuitive smartphone app that automatically send data to your electronic medical records. In fact, the process has been made so easy that patients can do it themselves from home and send it to their clinicians without having to come in for a consultation.
The healthcare industry is undergoing a fundamental transformation, and the global telehealth market is forecasted to be worth $6.5 billion by 2020. Tissue Analytics have created an innovative solution that use current guidelines to help everybody throughout the value chain of the wound healing process. The engaging product help patients better manage their own health and preventing chronic wounds with the touch of a smartphone. For healthcare providers it is a powerful tool that help them better reallocate resources, identify who needs immediate care, and potentially lowering healthcare costs associated with wound healing.
Maybe most importantly, Tissue Analytics close the gap between patients and their physicians, improving communication to build a trusting relationship that ultimately lead to better health outcomes. And since the product is app-based, only using a smartphone, it also has a huge potential in emerging markets where diabetic ulcers have tremendous impact.
The startup last year raised $750,000 led by Chinese Internet giant Tencent together with Philadelphia-based accelerator program DreamIt Health. The funding is being used for a study with Penn Medicine to evaluate the economic impact of the system, looking at wound healing time, hospital readmissions, amputations rates, and total healthcare expenditures.