This article discusses 3 main requirements that an effective wound assessment technology should analyze; wound border, wound depth, and colouration. As distinguishing factors that characterize a unique wound, these 3 requirements should be taken into account when creating an innovative wound care technology to alleviate the process of unaccurate wound measurements and increase consistency among chronological wound images.
For more information: Wound Care Overview
Wounds have many different characteristics including size, location, wound bed, depth, type of tissue and infection level. They can cause a variable amount of pain in a wounded patient and even effect their quality of life. The current common practices to measure wounds are with a hand-held ruler or by measuring a transparent film that is used to trace the wound outline. In an increasingly technology-oriented world, there are many mobile health (mHealth) applications and software created to improve the capturing of wound images and subsequently analyze the wound itself. The three most important requirements for an effective wound assessment technology is its ability to measure wound depth, wound border and colouration.
Knowing the depth of the wound can help health practitioners determine the severity and size of the wound. The outer appearance of the wound can look much different than it looks inside and analyzing changes in depth helps to track the progression of the wound. Current practices around measuring wound depth involve direct contact and probing of the wound which increases chances of contamination and causes patient discomfort. Swift Medical has created a wound care management software that can assess wounds with a simple wave of a smartphone over the wound and also captures information about wound depth.
Defining a clear wound border is still a barrier for many wound image capturing technologies as the colouration between the wound and the surrounding skin varies in contrast. Different types of edges can also characterize the type of wound or ulcer a patient has, for example, a venous ulcer is characterized by sloping edges. The edge of the wound can also help a health practitioner determine the history of wound and how it might have developed. In a wound image, defining the wound border will help a wound assessment application determine the size of the wound and calculate accurate measurements based on this factor.
The colour of a wound helps to determine a variety of different measures regarding its progression including infection level, necrotic issue (dead tissue from reduced blood flow), and wound bed healing. An indicator of healthy healing is pink granulation tissue, and an indicator of unhealthy granulation is a dark red colour that might be bleeding. Necrotic tissue is either slough (cream or yellow colour) or eschar (dry, black and hard), and failure to remove it can lead to wound infection and increased healing time. Analyzing wound coloration is an important requirement for wound assessment technologies as it also affects the definition of the wound border.