What are the best practices in wound care documentation? Digital photography and measuring wounds are both accepted practices, recognized and supported by most wound care associations. Both present challenges in everyday practices.
Taking photos with today’s digital technology is easy. Identifying and storing these photos is not. Digital camera files do not reference the patient, making it necessary to apply a tag to the patient in the photo. This requires opening, renaming and then transferring the images to a file system. In day to day practice this can prove to be very time consuming. Associating the wrong image in the record has also been an issue. Digital cameras systems that associate the image with the patient and allow the images to be transferred directly to a database eliminate these problems.
Measuring wounds with rulers and gauges has shown to be neither accurate nor repeatable. Barbara Bates-Jensen, PhD, RN, FAAN Associate Professor of Nursing and Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles states that, “The rate that wound size changes is our best predictor of healing. Yet assessing wound size is not easy, it is difficult to get accurate, reliable wound measurements.” Also, manual measurements do not provide a record of the wound border definition. This makes accurately tracking change difficult. The use of digital camera based measurement systems offer the clinician a solution to these issues.
We live in a time when technology enhances our lives so much. Think about how prevalent it has become, from Facebook to 3D printers, GPS to text messaging; try to imagine a day where you don’t interact with a computer. If we can use technology as simple as digital camera based measurement systems to decrease cost and improve quality of care- why wouldn’t we?
Tom Whelan President, Wound Zoom, Inc March 2015