Diabetic Foot Wound Care Goes Digital

Posted by on Aug 29, 2013 in General |

PressureGuardian™ Tracks Diabetic Foot Wound Care with Your Smartphone

diabetic-foot-care-dfwDigital technology, already revolutionizing health care around the world, is poised to transform diabetic foot wound management as well.

Individuals with diabetes experience a much higher risk of lower-limb amputation than non-diabetics, and a large majority of those amputations are preceded by a non-healing foot ulcer. Once an ulceration develops in an insensate foot, a frequent response is to provide a custom ankle-foot orthosis to offload the wound.

The effectiveness of the AFO design traditionally has been determined by the experience and intuition of the orthotist, largely due to lack of an effective tool for measuring pressure on and around the ulcer in the AFO environment. Now, a newly introduced product utilizing fundamental digital concepts — WI-FI and an “app” — is making wound care with an AFO decidedly more scientific and therefore effective. The PressureGuardian™, developed by Tillges Technologies, is a compact portable pressure sensor and WI-FI transmitter that sends pressure data to a data collecting and storing app residing on any Apple iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iTouch). This capability gives practitioners in the clinical setting accurate static and dynamic force measurements throughout the patient’s gait cycle, with which to assess and if necessary adjust reliefs around the wound for maximum benefit, faster healing and prevention of recurrence.

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The device is thus an excellent tool for measuring outcomes. Although not currently required, the information it provides may well become a necessary criterion for wound care reimbursement in the future.

PressureGuardian load readings, wound photos and detailed patient information can be organized into a comprehensive record, easily emailed to other clinicians and case managers or printed for filing. The non-invasive testing may be repeated many times at short intervals to delineate progress and provide visible biofeedback for patient education, which can increase compliance.

The system is currently designed for use with AFOs that also assist in wound healing, but future plans call for adding capabilities to monitor other orthotic and prosthetic applications, as well as to adapt the data management app for use with Android devices.