A new app which scans and measures wounds so staff can monitor them virtually is being used in Swansea Bay.
By using smartphones and tablets, the app scans wounds and shares the images securely among staff who can check to see how they are healing.
Developed by technology company Healthy.io, the Minuteful for Wound app is able to use the device’s camera as a diagnostic scanner to accurately measure the size of a patient’s wound.
Each image captured is then logged via a digital portal so nurses are able to look back at previous images and compare them to see if it is improving.
The portal gives the team full visibility of the status of each wound, helping to track their healing rates and identify any trends, while deteriorating wounds are highlighted for early intervention.
It also means each wound is measured more accurately as the app eliminates the potential for nurses to interpret and record measurements differently.
Being able to assess wounds accurately and consistently and track healing progress can reduce the healing time for patients.
Catrin Codd, interim transformational lead for district nursing, said: “We are still in the pilot stage but we are already seeing some major benefits from using the app.
“Whereas senior nurses and our Tissue Viability nurse would have previously had to go to patients’ homes, this is less frequent as they can monitor wounds virtually.
“It also means that if a patient moves between services both services are able to access the patient information and wound images.”
Pictured: Health Minister Eluned Morgan and Chief Nursing Officer for Wales, Sue Tranka, talking to staff about the app.
The pilot project has been rolled out within the district nursing teams and wound clinics across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, partly funded by the Welsh Government’s Digital Solutions Fund, which is co-ordinated by Digital Health Ecosystem Wales.
Swansea Bay is the first area in Wales to be using the Minuteful for Wound technology.
Sue Devonald, from Port Talbot, is just one patient who has found the app beneficial to be able to track the healing process.
The 71-year-old said: “The nurses used to change the dressing and write everything down in their notes but with the app they can take photos and I can see how the wound is changing.
“It means I know a bit more about what’s going on as I can see it for myself.
“I think it’s great. It’s really good to be able to see how the wound is healing.
“The nurses have been marvellous with it.”
Not only does the app save time for clinical staff, it also helps to improve each patient’s experience as they can see their wound healing over time.
Catrin added: “Patients are also able to view the wounds themselves on the app.
“This helps to improve their well-being, they are better able to engage with their care when they can visibly see the progress of the wound as a time series of images.”
Katherine Ward, Chief Commercial Officer at Healthy.io, said: “Enabling the nursing team to assess wounds more accurately and track healing is key to reducing the healing time of patients’ wounds.
“It has been brilliant to see the team at Swansea Bay embrace Minuteful for Wound and use the app to show patients how their wound is healing over time.”
During a visit to Cimla Health and Social Care Centre, the Health Minister Eluned Morgan and Chief Nursing Officer for Wales, Sue Tranka, spoke to members of staff who have been using the app in recent months.
Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan said: “This is a great example of exploring new and different ways of working – using technology to optimise patient care.
“Led by the Swansea and Neath Port Talbot district nursing teams and supported by our Digital Solutions Fund, it was fantastic to see first-hand how the innovative wound care app is making a difference to patients and nurses.
“Our NHS faces significant competing demands but applying new and different ways of working helps ease pressure on our hardworking health care workforce and help reduce waiting times.”