Problem: Chronic wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) and venous leg ulcers (VLUs) currently pose significant challenges to the future of health provision and management of national economies. It has been estimated that ~£3 billion is spent annually by NHS on the management of chronic wounds. Further, ~3 million people are affected annually by chronic wounds and there were >20,000 amputations between 2011 and 2014 in the UK.
NHS burden: hospitalization (>50%), nurse time (30-35%), materials (15-20%) costs
Patient burden: pain, foul smell, restricted mobility, amputation risk
Societal burden: infection management, anti-biotic therapy, antibiotic resistance
Current dressings do not provide an insight into the status ofwound underneath. Thus, dressings are often changed to examine and assess the wound. This in turn hampers the process of normal wound healing and causes stress and pain to patients. The assessment process consumes a significant amount of nursing time and dressing materials, which contributes to spiralling medical costs in wound care. The delays involved in getting laboratory results stall the administration of appropriate treatment leading to further increase in costs. This is critical in terms of infected wound management, where it has been shown that about 86% of total wounds will not heal in 52 weeks without targeted treatment. As a result, around 80-85% of the total budget of chronic wound management is a result of wound complications and delayed healing. Current treatment methods also do not use feedback loops to modify or adjust the treatment based on the wound’s physiochemical microenvironment. Thus, they have limited success and lead to antimicrobial resistance.
Role of wearable biosensors: TBA
Our approach: TBA