Chronic wound is a medical condition, affecting up to 4 % of all people worldwide. The wound care market is one of the biggest in the healthcare system globally, standing now at approx. USD 10.4 billion.
What are chronic wounds?
Wounds that have not progressed through the normal process of healing and are open for more than four weeks are classified as chronic wounds. They can be categorized as vascular ulcers, diabetic ulcers and pressure ulcers.
Chronic wounds develop when the complex wound healing process is impaired. There are different factors that may have negative effects on normal wound healing, such as infection, ischemia, metabolic conditions, immunosuppression, and radiation. In addition, patients, especially the elderly, suffering from diabetes and obesity are at a higher risk of developing chronic wounds.
Chronic wounds are often complicated by comorbidities, making them difficult to assess in a daily routine and also in clinical trials. Patients may experience chronic pain, loss of function and mobility, social stress, isolation, depression and anxiety.
Especially in the elderly population, chronic wounds are becoming more prevalent, more difficult to treat and are associated with high treatment costs, highlighting the importance of having a tool, which allows effective chronic wound assessment and tracking.
Prevalence of chronic wounds across the globe
- In Austria, about 200,000 to 300,000 individuals
- In the EU, the population prevalence is 3-4/1000 people, between 1.5-2 million individuals
- In the United States, about 2% of the population is affected, equates to about 2.5-4.5 million individuals
Chronic wound management
Before treating a wound, it is essential to define the type of chronic wound and to consider other factors which may delay wound healing. After deciding which wound dressing is most appropriate, professionals focus on maintaining healing and preventing recurrence.
Wound care has become increasingly important given the rise of chronic wounds and the morbidity associated with them. The management of chronic wounds, not only challenges the patients, but also nurses and practitioners. Despite technological advancement, wound management is still a clinical challenge, as well as geographical and logistic burden arise, due to the insufficient number of wound care nurses and experts available.
The wound care sector consumes a great deal of healthcare resources around the globe. The market has reached more than USD 10 billion globally, however it is expected to rise over the years. It is often believed that the use of wound dressings is one of the major cost drivers in wound management, whereas in fact, nursing time and hospital costs are together responsible for around 80–85% of the total cost.
The escalating physiological, psychological, social and financial burdens of wounds and wound care on patients, families and society demand the attention of the health care sector. Biopharma companies and professionals are in need of an innovative tool for the accurate documentation and assessment of chronic wounds as well as a technology allowing high quality remote wound care on patients.
Currently, the healthcare sector responsible for the management of patients with chronic wounds is facing difficulties and challenges, such as limited number of specialized professionals, an increased ageing and disabled population and regulatory issues, reflecting the demand for new digital technologies in the healthcare system.
Telemedicine and remote wound care
Telemedicine is the use of telecommunications technology and information technologies to provide remote clinical services to patients. Professionals use telemedicine for the transmission of digital imaging, video consultations and remote medical diagnosis. Nurses have a crucial role in the management of chronic wounds. The availability of remote wound care enhances the communication between nurses and wound care specialists, offering time and cost saving solutions for professional care of patients at their own home, saving them from the inconvenience of frequent visits to the practitioner's office.
Scarletred®Vision skin imaging technology is an AI-powered software enabling high quality documentation and analysis of skin lesions and wounds. The CE medical device certified technology ensures the objective imaging and secure documentation to define the effectiveness of the treatment. It has the potential to significantly increase the quality and efficiency of remote wound care services.
The app together with the platform creates a secure data storage and allows real-time based objective visual documentation of the chronic wound granting safer, improved monitoring and measurement of the wounds. The platform serves as a documentation and analytical tool for the management of chronic wounds. The built-in customizable tools allow extensive analysis of chronic wounds, such as distinguishing between specific areas within the wound, measuring areas, detecting necrotic areas and new vascularization, thus being able to identify different stages of wound healing.
Scarletred®Vision in hand with the telemedicine application provides crucial and extensive information of individual wounds, enhancing the care system service, therefore, contributes to better clinical support and health outcomes and overcomes geographical barriers.
In January 2020, SCARLETRED was the winner of the ´5G Use Case Challenge´, in the category healthcare, organized by the Vienna City Council. The formed partnership between SCARLETRED and A1-Telekom-Austria now allows wound care professionals early access to this communication technology and gives the opportunity to create a new, AI supported telemedicine for the city of Vienna, its healthcare professionals and population.
The new telecommunication via the 5th generation of network technology (5G) promises high-speed connection increasing bandwidth, network efficiency and allows more simultaneously connected devices compared to that of previous generations, such as LTE.
This technology effectively connects professionals, nurses and patients via uncompressed high quality video streaming, with the potential to significantly improve the quality of remote patient care, chronic wound care and other health care services.
Aside from the escalating physiological, psychological, social and financial burdens of wounds and wound care on patients, families and society demand the attention of the health care sector. Chronic wound care sector consumes a great deal of healthcare resources around the globe, thus it is no surprise that wound healing has received a great deal of attention, both from a scientific standpoint and a business perspective. SCARLETRED delivers a technology allowing the objective assessment and monitoring of patients with chronic wounds, contributing to better patient care and development of treatment plans.