A new smartphone app called WoundCare enables patients to remotely send images of their surgical wounds for monitoring by nurses.

The app enables patients to transmit daily surgical wound images from their home to a clinician.
(Credit: Journal of the American College of Surgeons)

The app was developed with the goal of earlier detection of surgical site infections (SSIs) and prevention of hospital readmissions. Due to the prevalence off SSIs, the team decided to see if postoperative wound monitoring could be effectively achieved by having patients upload photos through the app and answer a few brief questions to gather information not easily captured through images.

This protocol also has a cost-savings component, in addition to the patient safety and satisfaction aspects. Study authors note that SSIs are the most expensive hospital-acquired infection, costing an average of nearly $30,000 per wound-related readmission and an estimated $3 billion–$10 billion annually.

The study demonstrated that a population of complex and high-risk patients, many of whom are older adults and novice smartphone users, can complete this protocol with high fidelity and satisfaction.