Corstrata's board certified wound care specialists were chosen to participate as both authors and members of the Technical Expert Panel for review of the newly released Home Health Quality Improvement's (HHQI) new Best Practice Intervention Package on Wound Care.
The new HHQI package provides an excellent comprehensive overview of wound management for home health agencies. The Photography and Telemedicine (pp. 30-31) penned by Corstrata’s wound care specialists, Jan Cuzzell, MSN, RN, CWS, VP Clinical Quality and Myra Varnado, BS, RN, CWON, CFCN, Director Clinical Services, provides important insights into the best practices and benefits and uses of telehealth and digital photography for wound documentation and communication among healthcare teams. Telemedicine and digital technology are playing a vital role in helping health care professionals evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients in remote locations, increasing critical access to wound care specialists that previously wasn't available.
Following is an excerpt from the Wound Assessment and Documentation section of the Quality Insights HHQI BPIP on Wound Care.
Photography and Telemedicine
The standard for wound documentation is rapidly changing with the availability of new technologies. Electronic medical record systems are now able to support the use of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant photo documentation, an innovation that is leading to the emergence of state-of-the-art telewound programs.
Photography is a communication tool used by members of the healthcare team to monitor progress toward healing and detect signs of early wound deterioration. It has been said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Photographs do not replace a narrative wound assessment but rather provide insight and detail that might otherwise be lost. Photo-documentation includes digital photography and video imaging.
A best practice is to photograph all wounds at a minimum:
- On admission and with each recertification, and upon resumption of care
- When wound deterioration is observed
- Prior to and following wound debridement
- Upon patient transfer to and from an alternate care setting
- Upon patient discharge
Home health agencies can utilize photographs to:
- Increase productivity of wound specialists by allowing them to “see” and manage more wound patients via telewound consults
- Strengthen clinical documentation and facilitate legal defense of delivered care
- Support billing and reimbursement (i.e., validate the need for additional visits)
- Provide staff education
- Provide encouragement for patients or caregivers through progressive (serial) photographs as the wound healing process is often slow
You can access the full complimentary HHQI Best Practice Intervention Package on Wound Care here.
Learn more about the important role telemedicine and digital solutions are playing in wound care in a recent article published in Today's Wound Clinic, “Telemedicine Solutions for Chronic Wound Management: Bridging the Gap Between Wound Expert Supply & Demand”.