Artificial intelligence in wound care

With the fast development of IBM’s Watson and Google’s DeepMind, artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the key terms in 2017. GlobalData believes that AI will inevitably be used in the healthcare industry, including wound care.

Optimising treatment plans for healthcare providers

Due to colour duplex ultrasound scanning and other imaging technology, wound care providers currently have more certainty in confirming venous etiology and diagnosing venous ulcers than they did in the past. Analysing radiology images is one of AI’s strengths due to its machine learning and cloud computing features. As a cognitive assistant, AI can help clinicians diagnose wounds faster and more accurately by measuring wounds and indicating levels of exudate, protease, and bacterial burden.

One challenge faced by clinicians is the overload of new products and research studies. There are more than 70 cellular- and tissue-based products available on the market, as well as more than 3,000 other advanced wound-dressing products. Choosing the right product and making evidence-based decisions is a constant concern.

By analysing attributes from a patient’s file and comparing them to clinical guidelines, external research, and historical data, AI can help compare different products, evaluate the risks of wound healing approaches, and predict clinical outcomes, identifying the optimal treatment plan for the patient.

GlobalData believes that it is unlikely that AI will replace wound care clinicians. A patient who suffers from trauma or burns needs comfort and support from healthcare providers to overcome physical and psychological pain. Building good doctor-patient relationships is as important as medication in these cases and cannot be overtaken by AI.

Assisting home care for patients

AI can be very useful for patients with chronic wounds, as it gets the most information out of in-person consultations conducted at home between doctor’s visits. It is more appealing to patients in rural regions compared to urban regions, as patients in rural regions often prefer to avoid long commutes to wound care centres.

AI can provide continuous monitoring at patients’ homes, allowing clinicians to do follow-up care remotely with sufficient information. A virtual healthcare assistant gives patients the opportunity to control the location and timing of obtaining customised wound care solutions.

Chronic, hard-to-heal wounds, such as complications from diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, are highly related to lifestyle. Ideally, patients should choose a healthier life to control and relieve syndromes.

When combined with wearable sensors, AI can assess the patient’s day-to-day situation with their family history and the treatment plan given by their physicians, then provide reasonable lifestyle suggestions based on the needs and habits of the patient. In the future, it may even become possible for AI to prevent chronic wounds from occurring in the first place with 24/7 proactive and personal health management.