Wound care is a hotbed of innovation.
That's the clear message delivered over two full days of lectures and presentations by some of the biggest names in the field at the first Wound Care: From Innovations to Clinical Trials conference held in Manchester on June 20-21, 2017.
Speaker after speaker illustrated that rapid developments are taking place at all levels. There is a constant flow of new products on the market, new research pointing the way to better care, and, perhaps most importantly, the translation of products and research in to practical solutions that can help patients directly and immediately.
The conference, chaired by renowned wound care expert Professor Amit Gefen, featured presentations by the top figures from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, America, Portugal, Israel, the UK, and more. Their lectures focused on research from clinical trials and on technologies that help prevent pressure injuries, identify them earlier, and help in repairing damaged tissue.
Even the choice of Manchester to host the conference was a nod toward innovation. The UK is widely understood as the leader in wound care research.
Technology to Spot Pressure Injuries Early
Technology is moving at breakneck speed and influencing every area of human behavior. The way we communicate, travel, or even think about the world is influenced by the latest technologies.
The field of wound care is no different. Many of the presentations at the conference focused on specific solutions to wound care issues that were unthinkable a decade earlier. Others offered relatively simple ways to address longstanding problems by taking advantage of the spread of communication technology.
Bedridden patients, for example, could photograph wounds and receive diagnosis through tele-monitors thanks to the long arm of 3G and 4G technologies. Clinical trials showed that for some categories of wounds, there was virtually no difference in diagnosis from remote locations compared to direct diagnosis at clinics. The difference, of course, was that tele-treatment was quicker, and saved patients the hardship of travel to clinics.
The prevention and treatment of pressure injuries may also see enormous strides in the coming years. New devices that are capable of detecting the onset of pressure injuries much earlier than the human eye could spot them were identified and discussed. The accuracy of the devices has proven effective in clinical trials. Together with the human touch of nurses and caregivers, these technologically advanced devices provide an powerful new weapon in the war against pressure injuries.
Computer Simulations as the Future of Wound Treatment
While clinical trials are an effective way to learn about the efficacy of a particular course of treatment, the process is often prohibitively expensive. One reasonable alternative, promoted at the conference, was the use of computer simulations - another aspect of technology that has reached wider accessibility in recent years.
Simulations allow researchers to test new ideas without having to run them through clinical trials until they discover the best course of action. Numerous solutions can be tested in simulations without incurring large costs.
"Computer modeling has ENORMOUS potential to push our field forward," said Professor Gefen in his presentation. "It starts with the understanding that we cannot just look at the skin and know everything. That’s why we’re developing sensors, SEM scanners, and other technologies."
Going Deeper with Technology
As initial tools for prevention and treatment start to become more readily available, the need for more arise much quicker. Numerous speakers alluded to the need for new devices capable of looking deeper under the skin to areas that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
That push for more and newer solutions is a major part of what makes the field of wound care the most exciting area of medicine today - an urgent sense of what's possible.
The first annual WCICT is a major step forward. It featured so many "don't-miss" lectures and products that ensure that professionals in the field will be carefully studying the conference notes until next year’s event.
And who knows? By next year, the pace of change may be so great that they will be talking not about reducing or preventing pressure injuries but rather about how the dreaded scourge was finally eradicated.
As our staff attended this conference and took copious notes for those who were unable to make it, please benefit from our collective presence and knowledge. A downloadable PDF of each lecture is available below.