Rural Wound Care and Smartphone Technology Protection Status
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by Karen Zulkowski DNS, RN, CWS

Five million US rural residents live in designated provider shortage areas. A provider shortage area is defined by the federal government as counties with fewer than 33 primary care physicians per 100,000 residents. It is believed this shortage will be worse by 2014. Not surprisingly, rural residents and primary care providers rate their health care lower than their urban counterparts. Few specialists are available in rural areas with rural areas having half the number of surgeons and other specialists compared to urban areas.

Few wound care specialists are available in rural areas. There are 18 American Academy of Wound Management (AAWM) certified wound care specialists (CWS) in Montana with all but one located in the larger cities. There are three CWS certified persons in Wyoming and all are located in the larger cities. North and South Dakota and Alaska have a similar scarcity of CWS providers meaning a large geographic area of the country does not have access to expert wound help and care. The small number of wounds and rapidly changing treatment and dressing market would also make it difficult for a small rural facility to keep current.

So what should we do? One solution may be use of smartphone technology. A 2012 survey found 67% of surveyed registered nurses and 60% of surveyed advance practice RNs already use smartphones at the point of care. Among surveyed physicians, 40% said they use smartphones during patient consultations. Linking smartphone technology to an expert wound clinician in a HIPPA-compatible manner may be one way to allow small rural facilities to use current evidence at the bedside.

Do you use smartphones for care? If so, what sort of applications are you using it for in your patient care? Would you use this technology for wound documentation and consultation? Let me hear from you!

About The Author
Karen Zulkowski DNS, RN, CWS is an Associate Professor with Montana State University-Bozeman, teaches an online wound course for Excelsior College, and is a consultant for Mountain Pacific Quality Improvement Organization. She has served as a Research Consultant with Billings Clinic Center on Aging, and was the Associate Director for Yale University’s Program for the Advancement of Chronic Wound Care.

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.


Hi Karen!
So you folks feel it too. My wife is a BSN, RN, CWOCN, CFCN. She contracts across a good part of Northeast Nebraska. She ran into a few problems with documentation. One, each facility tends to want to choose the EMR, making for a variety created by IT specialists, quasi-wound care providers, and sometimes they just take whatever is easiest or the cheapest. This makes it fairly difficult for the nurse covering 1,000 square miles. Two, none of the previously existing options made it possible for her to link into them via the internet (most facilities didn't even know you can do this and remain HIPPA compliant).

At the same time, her brother was up in Wyoming working on EMRs for care centers. As you said yourself the remoteness of that state is also evident. He had already developed an internet pharmaceutical based software and had begun to construct a division of that software to service wound care documentation in L.L.C.s.

My wife thought his product might be of help in cleaning up the mess she was working with so she had him bring the prototype home when he was visiting over a holiday. She looked at it, which led to her telling him what all was wrong with it. He made her the Clinical Consultant and instead of creating a software based product they created an app. It is on the market today and accommodates all the wound care professional's needs from C.N.A. to Doctor... they can all use it.

The fact that it works off of a cellular network or the internet makes it completely mobile. It works on any iPad or Droid. It even incorporates the pictures you take with the tablet and will allow you to make specific entries of documentation using the voice recognition feature of a tablet.

Well, anyway its cool and she uses it all the time. Its on the market and it solves wound, ostomy, and continence documentation on the run for Care Centers, Hospice, Home Health, Private Contractors, and small or large hospitals.

I would give you the name, but about the way I do that I'll get kicked off for advertising. I just had to let you know that this problem has been solved very uniquely and adequately.

The Pheasant

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