Vulnera: monitoring chronic wounds using image-processing

Vulnera is a web and mobile application that leverages image processing software developed by Skin Analytics to track and monitor the progression of  chronic wounds.

Diabetic, venous or arterial ulcers cause significant morbidity and economic burden on healthcare systems across the world. Often the lesion progresses to a point where amputation is the only option. Monitoring and tracking the size the wound is important in deciding what treatments are necessary, or whether to escalate the level of care. Currently, monitoring chronic wounds is carried out using a check box and simple colour and quality observations made by the tissue viability nurses. Depth is measured using a Q-tip and a photograph is taken on a digital camera and uploaded. All of this information is gathered crudely and is fragmented, meaning it is hard to see objectively how management affects healing.

Using an image processing algorithm that is able to detect changes in noisy smartphone images, chronic wounds could be monitored more reliably and in the community, obviating the need for repeated specialist visits.

The technology would log changes in colour, texture, depth and size. Measurements such as pH could be taken by photographing litmus paper placed upon the wound. Over time, the healing of the wound could be plotted against the treatments given, thereby allowing objective assessment of efficacy. Widespread use would provide big data on wounds and the effect of various treatments and provide a platform on which wound care companies could test their solutions.