Singapore is testing the device and associated app to help reduce unnecessary doctor visits.
Singaporean researchers have developed a smart bandage that makes it possible for chronic wound patients to consistently monitor their wounds on an app using a smartphone.
The device has the potential to cut down on visits to a doctor, saving time and money.
A National University of Singapore research team created the wearable sensor smart bandage. It is a clear adhesive strip that is applied over the wound and is able to track the healing process. It reads data such as temperature, pH levels, inflammation, and the type of bacteria present.
“Traditionally when someone has a wound or ulcer, if it’s infected, the only way to examine it is through looking at the wound itself, through visual inspection,” said the lead researcher, Chwee Teck Lim of the university’s biomedical engineering department. “If the clinician wants to have further information then they will obtain the wound fluid and send to the lab for further testing.” He added: “So what we’re trying to do is use our smart bandage to cut the number of hours or days to just a few minutes.”
The smart bandage is called VeCare and lets patients heal at home while still monitoring a wound.
At the moment, the wearable technology is being tested on chronic venous ulcer patients. Those are ulcers on the legs caused by vein circulation issues and that are difficult to heal and are highly prone to infection. The data collected by the researchers through the participants wearing the devices on their wounds has proven very helpful and effective so far, said Lim. According to the head researcher, there is a great deal of potential for the device on other types of chronic wounds as well, such as diabetic foot ulcers.
The smart bandage sensors provide the app with useful information for better understanding the condition of the wound. Though it cannot replace a doctor’s care, it can provide the data required to help determine if an additional appointment is needed for a doctor to check and treat the wound, or if it is progressing well on its own.