By Industry News
Chicago, April 14, 2020 - The 6.5 million people living with chronic wounds in the US are also the most vulnerable to COVID-19: older adults and those with underlying health conditions. These patients require critical wound care that cannot be put on hold, yet to keep patients safe, many skilled nursing facilities are reducing access to visiting wound clinicians and many wound clinics are reducing hours or closing, leaving patients isolated from their much needed care providers. Improperly treated wounds can rapidly lead to infection, amputation, and death.
"We are only months into this pandemic and with no clear end in sight, the serious effects of delaying wound care need to be addressed in a strategic way," says Carlo Perez, Founder and CEO of Swift Medical. "The innovative solutions we create today will not only ensure continuous and compassionate care now, but will also permanently shape the future of care delivery."
To address this challenge, forward-thinking leaders have come together to form the Telewound Coalition: a collective of clinical experts, health care providers and technology innovators with the mission to provide remote wound care throughout this crisis. The Coalition's objectives are to ensure accessibility and continuity of wound care, to preserve the health and safety of those vulnerable patients and care providers, to prevent further spread of the virus, to decrease demand on personal protective equipment (PPE), and to alleviate hospital capacity pressures.
"The COVID-19 epidemic is continuing to force us to reevaluate our perspectives on patient care," states Pamela Scarborough, Director Public Policy and Education with American Medical Technologies (AMT). "The Coalition will provide mentorship and knowledge related to best practices and open avenues for securing critical supplies and support needed for wound care."
The Coalition represents an industry-first, collaborative approach to integrating the diverse wound care ecosystem. Working together are wound care organizations, such as AmeriWound and the Wound Care Education Institute (WCEI); EMR technology providers, including Netsmart; wound supply distributors, such as AMT; and health care providers, including Genesis HealthCare and ProMedica. Each of these organizations plays a vital role in supporting the patient and, together, will optimize the delivery of wound care across the country. This challenge transects geographies and care settings and requires a unified and symbiotic strategy to make an immediate and lasting impact.
"Telehealth capabilities are essential to meeting the challenges of COVID-19," states Dr. Richard Feifer, Chief Medical Officer of Genesis HealthCare. "This is especially important as we have limited all outside medical appointments across our network of skilled nursing facilities, except for those which are medically necessary and time sensitive such as dialysis and chemotherapy. It also allows providers to access patients even if they are not feeling well themselves or are in quarantine."
Through this unique collaboration, the Coalition immediately connects over 2,000 wound care nurses and doctors with a network of over 3,500 health care facilities across all 50 states. With the nation-wide reach of the Coalition, this initiative has the ability to expand to over 80% of all the beds in the US. To power this connectivity, Swift Medical will provide the underlying technology, their new Telewound module, to patients and their care providers at no cost. This will enable thousands of virtual visits a day, ensuring continuity of care, early interventions, and reductions in avoidable amputations.
"We have a health system that spans the continuum of care across 28 states. The Coalition will enable us to virtually connect our thousands of providers with each other and their patients and provide care throughout COVID and beyond," says Dr. Greg Kasper, President at ProMedica's Jobst Vascular Institute.
Given the rapidly evolving nature of the pandemic, the Coalition will continue to expand its membership and amass additional expertise and capabilities over time. However, the Coalition's technology and clinical network are established and ready to provide virtual wound care across the entire country immediately.
About the Telewound Coalition
The Telewound Coalition is a network of wound care experts and innovators assembled to provide ongoing, remote wound management. If your organization is interested in joining the Coalition, as either a healthcare provider in need of telehealth wound care or an organization who can support the delivery of remote wound care, please visit: www.telewoundnow.org
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.