Effective wound care requires regular monitoring and changing of the dressings that provide optimal conditions for tissue healing. Despite recent advances in biomedical and wearable technologies, the dressing inspection process still remains unchanged over the years and is remarkably subjective (i.e. an accurate assessment of dressing moisture content and age is dependent on the experience of the caregiver) and labour-intensive.
Furthermore, such inspections usually involve dressing removal and disturbance of the patient. It is clear that such a process results in significant problems such as suboptimal changing frequency, increased clinical inspection time, patient discomfort, increased cost of wasted dressings, and increased wound healing time, leading to very high costs of chronic woundcare.
To address these issues, the ICT for Health team at Tyndall is working with leading medical equipment provider Fleming Medical (Limerick), the Holst Centre/TNO (Eindhoven, Netherlands) and Philips Innovation Services (Eindhoven, Netherlands) to develop the world’s first commercially-available smart dressing for use in futuristic wound care applications.
The smart dressing, called 'DermaTrax', contains sensors that autonomously monitor both the condition of the wound and the dressing itself, relaying information to a nurses' station via a wireless link. Medical staff can be alerted to the possible presence of infection and aturation without the need to remove the dressing, which can disturb the patient and interrupt healing process.
The core of the new product will be a miniature sensor module, flexible and thin enough to fit inside a typical dressing without affecting the patient's comfort.
The activity is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2010 Ecsel Joint Undertaking programme under a public-private partnership project codenamed 'InForMed' (grant nr. 2014-2-662155), which is led by Philips Electronics Netherlands BV. The consortium aims to form a manufacturing ecosystem where new medical devices can be seeded and nurtured to grow into new business opportunities.
The project is co-funded by grants from national organisations around Europe, including Enterprise Ireland.
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