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Telemedicine for Wound Care: Current Practice and Future Potential

  • Year: 2010
  • Author: Gray, LC; Armfield, NR; Smith, AC
  • Journal Name: Wound Practice & Research: Journal of the Australian Wound Management Association
  • Journal Number: Vol. 18, No. 4
  • Country: Australia

Telemedicine offers the potential to improve access to specialist care for people in rural communities, and for those with chronic illness, disability and limited support of carers, including in metropolitan settings. Individuals with chronic ulcers and wounds will often meet these criteria. The declining cost of equipment and improving access to the internet will add to the attractiveness of the telemedicine option. In this paper, the current status of telemedicine is reviewed, and the application of telemedicine techniques for wound care assessment and management explored. The store-andforward approach, where images are recorded remotely and transmitted to a wound specialist for diagnostic and management review, supported by a protocol-driven approach, appears suited to chronic wound care. The available evidence supporting diagnostic accuracy, patient acceptance, clinical outcomes and cost-effectiveness suggests this strategy to have considerable merit. Current investment in the national broadband network, and policy and funding developments in healthcare in Australia, may open the door to more extensive use of telemedicine in wound care.

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