With rising healthcare costs making news on an (almost) daily basis it’s essential that we push ahead with the drive for technology to have meaningful impact. One area seeing brilliant innovation is in the field of wound care where we’ve been working closely with GPC, a company based in the UK, who are combining Intel’s® RealSense™ 3D Camera capabilities with a mobile app to deliver better patient outcomes, improved clinical management and lower organisational costs.
In the UK alone wound care is costing the NHS some £3 billion per year. The challenges are clear to me, specialist wound care clinicians are a limited and costly resource, monitoring and managing healing can be subjective and evidence-based decision making is hampered by a lack of consistent wound information. I’m pleased that a combination of talent and technology is meeting these problems head-on.
Enhancing Mobility, Removing the Guesswork
GPC, with extensive knowledge of the healthcare sector, set about overcoming these challenges by designing an innovative wound care management solution. I asked Huw Morgan, Technical Director at GPC, to tell us more: “We wanted to provide an enhanced level of mobility for clinicians working in wound care by delivering applications which work across multiple devices including tablets, laptops and mobile phones. Additionally, taking away some of the guesswork by offering a standardised and consistent method of capturing images of wounds - which enables the clinician to determine changes in size and colour – enhances evidence-based decision making considerably. These two factors will help healthcare providers to deliver better patient outcomes through reducing healing time and fewer complications”
The team at GPC are utilising the Intel® RealSense™ 3D Camera which can be found in a range of mobile devices. The camera’s depth-sensing technology is a real win for healthcare across many scenarios and it truly excels in the field of wound care. Huw explained more: “With RealSense™ we’re able to not only record real-time data in 3D but the clinician can also rotate and interact with the wound image. This delivers a much greater understanding of a wound in respect of location, which more often than not will be sitting on an uneven surface on the body.”
RealSense™ Enables Quantum Leap in Clinical Monitoring
Dr. Ian Wiles, Medical Director at GPC, talked through some of the detailed clinical benefits of using RealSense™ in relation to wound management: “The widely adopted pressure ulcer classification system (four stages) is helpful to allow communication between clinicians and managers but it can be inconsistently applied. 3D cameras enable any carer to accurately assess and monitor an ulcer.”
“ULNITS are the accurate measurement of an ulcer using a 3D camera – maximum width x maximum length x maximum depth – note this is not a cubic measurement of tissue loss because of the complex shapes of ulcers but it is an objective, repeatable gauge that can be accurately monitored. The 3D image will be of benefit when reviewing cases or for the tissue viability experts but the progress/deterioration of the ulcer by ULNIT is far more important.”
“It is the monitoring of the ulcer using the RealSense™ 3D Camera that is the most powerful development. After the initial assessment the treatment can be started using locally agreed protocols and the progress of the ulcer can be accurately predicted while removing the subjective element in previous classifications. Every clinician involved in ulcer care understands this is a powerful development in measurement. RealSense™ has enabled a quantum leap in clinical monitoring, it’s not 3D for the sake of 3D but better care using 3D.”
Combining 3D Images with Analytical Expertise
GPC take the data from the RealSense™ 3D Camera and apply their analytical expertise to provide wound care specialists with a view that is consistent, both in terms of visual changes across time and in respect of size and colour. Additionally, GPC have developed an algorithm to more accurately measure wound severity and consequently healing.
The buzz from healthcare providers around these advances in wound care technology from GPC at HIMSS15 this year was fantastic and that has continued through to events in the UK in recent months. I’m really pleased to be able to share this use case with you which will help clinicians to be more mobile, capture an enhanced level of data and benefit from innovative analytics. Healthcare providers are likely to see reduced costs around wound management and, importantly, deliver better patient outcomes.
Wound care is just one aspect where the Intel® RealSense™ family of software and depth cameras enables more natural and intuitive interaction with personal computing devices and for healthcare there are many more possibilities such as:
- Gesture control, facial detection and tracking for use in secure login;
- Video conferencing where the background can be excluded;
- Possibilities to help in the empathy and social‐emotional factors by assessing the facial expressions with emotion detection in recovery from stroke;
- Tracking of 22 joints in a hand could assist in the post-operative treatment after hand surgery for instance.
These are just some of the areas that have been discussed so far where this technology could be applied. And we must not forget that RealSense™ 3D cameras can be found in a range of laptops and all-in-one devices which opens up access to the significant benefits of solutions such as GPC’s wound care management to healthcare providers across the world.
GPC will be showcasing their innovative wound care technology which uses Intel® RealSense™ at IDF15.