The public health impact of chronic wounds is staggering. An estimated 1.3 to 3 million people in the U.S. are believed to have pressure ulcers and as many as 10 to 15 percent of the 20 million individuals with diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic ulcers. Many more people have had venous ulcers or wounds resulting from arterial disease. Treating these wounds costs an estimated $5 to $10 billion each year with additional costs to patients in terms of lost productivity.
CMS over the past several years established new ulcer guidelines that will raise the bar for wound care documentation. To address the problem, ACEOS Inc. located in Pennsylvania, has come up with “WoundMatrix” a documentation system that uses a new approach to measure and track wound healing. Wound images, objective measurements, and tracking information are available to any authorized level of a medical or provider organization. This can be done instantaneously allowing clinicians to make accurate evidence-based decisions.
The system uses auto-e-mail notification every time a new wound measurement is performed. Then the username and password is entered to view only the WoundMatrix reporting area that provides access to patients’ wound pictures, digital measurements, notes, and patient data. A digital photography is part of each patient’s report and provides supplementary documentation under the CMS guidelines.
Patients and caregivers no longer need to make subjective judgments that compare the current status of a wound with information from a previous appointment using such descriptors as looks better, worse, drier, wetter, or pinker. Reducing subjectivity involved in measuring and tracking wounds makes it easier to make cost effective decisions and to know what therapies are actually working.
Today, Johns Hopkins University Wound Care Center uses the WoundMatrix web solution for all patient wound encounters. The system automates the process of documenting the healing progression of various wound care therapies and regimens.
According to Gerald S. Lazarus, M.D., Director of the Johns Hopkins Wound Center and Chief of Dermatology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, the system uses a quantifiable and replicable wound documentation system to provide accurate objective measurements for the Center. In addition, data collection capabilities record notes over time which allows us to evaluate the effectiveness of our therapeutic and medical interventions.
The system is also being used successfully by the Veterans Administration Medical Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Clinicians using the system are now able to link specific wound images and measurements to the VA’s electronic medical record called VistA.
Sean Geary, President of ACEOS, said “his company and the VA Caribbean Health Care System share a vision for improving health information systems by using an integrated approach."