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How using digital wound care tools can improve staffing optimization

Watch this webinar to explore how using empathetically designed digital wound care tools can help improve staff satisfaction, efficiency and clinical outcomes by empowering clinicians to practice at the top of their license.

Presenter:

  • Amy Cassata, RN, WCC, BSN, vice president of clinical success at Swift Medical

Learning objectives:

  • The impact of user-friendly technology on staff satisfaction and retention
  • How technology can empower clinicians to practice at the top of their license to improve clinical outcomes
  • The role of technology in reducing referral rejections by increasing the capacity of your wound program 

Key topics:

  • Minute 1:40 - Intro & agenda
  • Minute 2:05 - The staffing challenge in healthcare
  • Minute 8:25 - The human impact of empathetically designed technology for wound care
  • Minute 14:09 - How digital wound care can empower clinicians
  • Minute 28:20 - Q & A  

More than 8 million Medicare beneficiaries have some sort of wound or infection (not including pneumonia) and wound care accounts for billions of dollars in Medicare spending.1

Nurses provide most of that care. And that fact poses a challenge in light of persistent nursing shortages and burnout, according to Amy Cassata, RN, WCC, BSN, vice president of clinical success at Swift Medical.

"When you consider that up to 30% of your patients have a wound, that's a lot of time nurses will spend on wounds they may not feel overly confident and comfortable [with], creating more stress and dissatisfaction," Cassata says.

One solution is digital wound care tools, smartphone-based tools nurses use to photograph, measure and document wounds accurately. Afterward, remote wound care specialists and providers can review the documentation and offer guidance.

In this webinar, which aired July 13, 2022, Cassata discussed how this wound care technology could help improve patient outcomes, optimize staff efficiency and allow clinicians to practice at the top of their license. Here's what she told the audience.

Digital wound care improves nurse satisfaction

"While nursing burnout is ubiquitous across healthcare, arguably wound care is one of the most critical aspects to focus on for nursing satisfaction," says Cassata.

In fact, when Swift Medical surveyed employees of one home health agency, it found that only 8% of nurses were very or moderately satisfied with manual wound care practices, compared with 33% who were very or moderately dissatisfied.

Digital technology improves satisfaction in at least two ways:

  • It simplifies and speeds up the assessment process. The nurse no longer has to manually measure and assess a wound and then document it, either at the bedside or at the end of the day
  • It lets the nurse easily share their assessment with a wound care specialist or physician. "The nurse might not present themselves confidentially over the phone, and that physician may second-guess them," says Cassata

After the home health agency Cassata mentioned implemented Swift Medical's solution, satisfaction rates soared among nurses. Here are a few results from a follow-up survey:

  • 100% of nurses said digital wound care meets the clinical need
  • 94% said it supports effective collaboration
  • 83% said it reduces measurement time
  • 88% said it supports better care decisions

Wound care technology supports staff efficiency

The United States has just one wound care specialist for every 500 wound patients, making their time extremely valuable.2 Digital wound care lets them consult on far more cases remotely than they could in person.

"That wound care specialist may have been able to see three patients a day," Cassata says. "Now they can remotely review all your wounds and identify which of the top 1% of patients they need to see right away; their stretch is much farther."

She notes that the home health agency she described in the webinar serves about 16,000 wound care patients each year in an area encompassing over 10,000 square miles (roughly the size of Maryland). Before digital wound care, that meant a lot of windshield time for time-pressed wound care specialists.

At the other end of the spectrum, digital wound care empowers LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses) to practice at the top of their license. "It's giving them that confidence that they can provide care for those patients in their homes," Cassata says.

She cites the example of a home health patient who might need seven wound care visits. Rather than send an RN (Registered Nurse) all seven times, a home health agency could send an RN on the first visit and an LPN on all the subsequent visits.

Reduced costs are an added bonus. Cassata says the cost of care would be about $150 less over the seven visits in her example. Multiply that by thousands of patients, and the potential savings are huge.

A leader in digital wound management, Swift's solution makes wound care as easy as taking a photo. Learn more about how Swift Medical is setting a new standard in skin and wound solutions.

Patient engagement and outcomes also improve with digital wound care

Cassata says patients also respond well to digital wound care. In one survey, Swift Medical found that:

  • 92% of patients were satisfied with the quality of care and felt involved in decisions
  • 75% agreed that they were better able to manage their health
  • 83% agreed that the program had improved their quality of life 

Those results didn't surprise Cassata. Before joining Swift Medical, she treated her most non-adherent patient ever, a paraplegic with stage 4 pressure injuries on both his ischial tuberosities (the so-called sit bones.)

"As soon as we introduced digital technology where he could visually see what was going on with his ischial tuberosities, his entire mentality toward his wound care changed," she says. "Not only did it help that patient feel confident, but it made the staff feel confident that they could take care of this patient where he wanted to be – in his home – to heal better."

Outcomes like that are why Swift Medical can claim a 13.5% reduction in 60-day rehospitalizations and a 70% improvement in wound healing rates.

As for Cassata's formerly non-adherent patient, she still keeps tabs on him. "He is doing fine and is completely healed," she says.


Webinar originally aired on July 13, 2022

1: https://www.valueinhealthjournal.com/article/S1098-3015(17)30329-7/fulltext
2: https://www.homecaremag.com/september-2018/nurse-wound-care-expert

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