Sierra Madre, California-based Wound Care Advantage, a manager of outpatient wound treatment centers, has partnered with Baltimore-based Tissue Analytics to use the digital health startup's technology to measure wounds and develop improved treatment protocols.
"Joining forces with technology companies at the forefront of innovation in healthcare is incredibly important as we tackle problems associated with chronic and complex diseases," Mike Comer, CEO of Wound Care Advantage, said in a statement. "This partnership will enable us to combine WCA's nearly two decades of clinical data with Tissue Analytics' existing digital platform and create opportunities with our commercial partners for additional research."
Tissue Analytics has an app that uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to measure and identify a wound based on a five-second smartphone video. The company also provides an interoperable workflow that brings that data into most EHRs via a SMART-on-FHIR protocols.
Though the companies are just now announcing the partnership now, they've been working together since 2016. At first, Tissue Analytics was just using Wound Care Advantage's data to develop models for predictive analytics. Now they'll be putting those models to work in Wound Care Advantage clinics.
Why it matters
Wound care sits perfectly at the intersection of healthcare areas that digital technology has the potential to improve and those that are badly in need of improvement, as the standard of care is still manual measurement with a high error rate.
"The wound care space isn’t like other fields," Kevin Keenahan, CEO of Tissue Analytics, told MobiHealthNews. "It’s not like oncology, where there’s a ton of data scientists and industry folks who have done a huge amount of research. It’s kind of an archaic part of medicine and it hasn’t gotten modernized in the same way that a lot of other fields have."
Tissue Analytics is one of a small handful of companies working to change that, and offering a platform that includes not only digital measurement but an AI that derives insights from those measurements, acting as a clinical decision support tool.
"Wound Care Advantage is a really big management company in the wound care industry. They have dozens of outpatient clinics that they manage," Keenahan said. "We’ll be deploying the Tissue Analytics technology into those clinics and then collecting data basically to validate those retrospective models that we had built already. So if we had the model that a patient with these characteristics is expected to heal in 14 days on average, plus or minus five days, after we’ve been recording the user base for 12 months we can start to validate that. And if the models are correct, we can use this new data to update those models and we can do this better. So a lot of that will just kind of happen continuously."
What's the trend
Wound care is just starting to see digital innovation with the advent of advanced smartphone cameras, portable AI, and augmented reality. Along with Tissue Analytics, Toronto-based Swift Medical offers a similar service and Isreal's Healthy.io has one in development.