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Infection Control And Wound Care Software

Improve infection documentation with a digital wound management tool

Infection control is a core component of high-quality wound care. Infection prevention is a standard of care, yet infections still arise, even with the best prevention methods and sterile surgical procedures.

Wounds have an average infection rate of 8% in the general population. This rises to a 25% infection rate in wounds affecting persons 60 and older.

Infection rates climb to over 27% when the wound is “dirty.” For many facilities, the majority of the patients they serve are struggling with these types of wounds.

Consider:3

  • Bed sores contaminated by feces and urine on bed-bound individuals
  • Puncture wounds, such as pet or wild animal bites
  • Skin tears from dirty surfaces, such as scrapes from metal steps
  • Wounds receiving significantly delayed care, such as chronic diabetic foot wounds
  • High-risk wounds, such as a non-healing surgical site
  • Poorly maintained wounds, such as heavily draining venous stasis ulcers dressed with low-absorption dressings

While digital wound care software can’t prevent infections, it can equip staff with a tool that significantly improves documentation, both for infected and at-risk wounds. This supports better care handoff and faster recognition of changes, which are essential to infection management.

Here are 5 ways a wound-specific digital tool can be used for your facility’s infection management.

1.   Notice wound changes faster

Wound infections can progress at an alarming rate. Patients can go from an isolated infection to sepsis (a body-wide infection) within a few hours. A few days between being assessed by a healthcare provider is plenty of time for sepsis to develop.

Another risk factor is that wound inflammation and wound infection look remarkably similar. Periwound erythema (redness) from wound inflammation is a normal part of the healing process. In chronic wounds, this erythema may be present for a long time. This puts a patient at risk of having infection signs get dismissed. Providers may miss worsening signs, believing “the wound always looks like that.”

What does digital wound software do to highlight changes that might need intervention? It offers more comprehensive assessment documentation that can be reviewed faster.

It can accomplish this in two ways: user-friendly flow and wound photography. A flow that’s optimized allows a provider to review documentation and chart quickly. Wound photography allows a practitioner to view subtle changes between visits.

2.   Expedite referrals

Delayed referrals lead to delayed healing. For many patients, especially with diabetic foot wounds, delayed interventions are disabling and dangerous.

When a specialty is flooded with referrals, staff needs to triage the patients. They must quickly decide which referrals should be seen soonest and which can be scheduled out. Unfortunately, with the increasing demands on healthcare staff, referrals often have sparse and irrelevant patient information.

It’s not uncommon for a referral to consist of nothing more than a fax or call requesting a patient be seen for a non-descript wound. A generic referral might also include the referring doctor’s note—which could be sparse and include a non-specific wound assessment.

For a high-risk patient, how can a referral like that quickly and clearly express why they needs to be seen promptly? For example, a wound care center will see countless diabetic foot ulcers (DFU). What would help the staff evaluate which patient with a DFU needs care soonest?

Printing out documentation from wound-specific digital software highlights the assessment details that support the referral given by the referring provider.

A generic referral might request an appointment and state that the wound isn’t progressing. On the other hand, a referral using digital wound management highlights the need by supplementing photos, wound dimensions, and wound assessment details.

3.   Ease access to infection information

Wound care and infection treatments go hand-in-hand. Antibiotic treatment is often necessary. Patients with complex and recurrent infections may face multiple rounds of different kinds of antibiotics.

Unfortunately, nearly 74% of antibiotics written for adults over 65 are inappropriately prescribed. With levels this high, it’s no surprise that negative side effects and antibiotic resistance are such a burden on patients.

How does digital wound management software help? It makes a patient’s infection information easy to review.

To appropriately consider a patient’s antibiotic needs, a practitioner can, ideally, review previous infection information. Has the patient had a culture performed on the wound? When was the most recent one? What did the culture grow, and what was subsequently prescribed?

With digital wound care software, a practitioner doesn’t need to dig through a chart to hunt down previous cultures or antibiotic prescriptions.

4.   Prevent poor practices from slipping through the cracks

What care has been tried for the patient? What hasn’t? Are the patient’s dressings being changed at appropriate intervals?

These are critical questions—a provider needs to know these details to maintain gold-standard care.

For example, a patient may be prescribed seemingly appropriate dressings for packing a deep wound. If the patient’s wound worsens, do they need a new type of dressing? Or changes more often? A provider needs to quickly assess whether there are other contributing factors to best update the care plan.

With digital wound software, patient visit details are easy to navigate and review. A provider could easily discover a key piece of information—such as whether the packing was being changed too infrequently.

5.   Utilize a touch-free measurement system

Avoiding cross-contamination is essential to wound care prevention. However, measuring a wound is a prime opportunity for just that.

The most common method for measuring a wound is using a paper ruler. Some facilities require a sticker by the wound to help identify the patient. While the ruler and the sticker are disposable, there’s still potential for cross-contamination. Germs that have touched the ruler and sticker risk getting into the patient’s wound.

Furthermore, the paper ruler measurement method is nearly impossible to standardize. The ruler method of wound measurement continues to prove inaccurate.

Digital wound software solves this with wound photography.  Wound photography with automatic measurement capabilities both standardizes the measuring process and improves efficiency. It also helps keep rulers, stickers, and the provider’s hands away from the wound.

Digital wound management: today’s tool for excellent wound documentation

When the Joint Commission comes to assess your facility, infection control is always a priority. Do you feel confident your facility will pass the next inspection?

Infection prevention is always a top quality control measure, and digital wound care software can make thorough documentation easier. Your facility will benefit from digital wound management if any apply:

  • Tracking data across different patients is difficult in your current EHR.
  • You receive a high volume of wound care referrals.
  • You frequently refer patients for wound care needs.
  • You coordinate patient care with infectious disease specialists frequently.
  • You serve patients that frequently need antibiotics.
  • You serve patients with high infection risk, such as in long-term care facilities.

WoundZoom is a robust digital wound management tool made to fill in the gaps in most EHRs. Improve your wound care through a user-friendly documentation flow, a wound measurement tool, seamless transfer to your EHR, and more. Request your no-cost 30-minute demo today to explore how WoundZoom can improve your wound care and efficiency.

Meta Title: Improve Infection Control With Wound Care Software

Meta Description: Infections are a burden to both your patients and you as a facility. Wound care software can supplement your EHR and help your staff catch and manage infections with more success.