Background (Wound Care):
Infections arising in wounds (surgical or pressure sores) are one of the most common problems faced by healthcare patients. It is estimated that wound care accounts for 4% of healthcare costs measuring in the billions. Costs of complications from wound infections measures in the tens of billions. If the patient’s wound and dressing are not monitored properly, cared for at the right time, or given the correct treatments, the wound can develop severe and costly complications ranging from a few to tens of thousands of dollars on a per patient basis beyond the patient’s decreased overall health and increased chance of mortality. We are proposing to develop an elastic, therapeutic bandage called the MicoViolet Patch that can directly treat the wound and monitor the healing process. These vitals and treatment data are stored for real-time access and analysis by physicians to make decisions on care.
Introducing the MicroViolet Patch:
Our team has designed the MicroViolet Patch, a flexible bandage that is capable of delivering ultraviolet (UV), infrared light (IR), and electrical simulation (E-stimulation) locally to wounds. It features a sensor feedback mechanism that can (1) accelerate the wound healing process by providing controlled light exposure, (2) monitor the healing process for signs of infection, (3) Use E-stimulation as an effective adjunctive therapy to reduce bacterial load and clinical infections. and (4) eliminate bacterial infections by sanitizing the infected site using UV light. Thus enabling us to realize its mission of making light therapy as easy as putting a bandage.
Our first application uses the patch to treat and monitor pressure ulcers (PU). One in every 11 people in nursing homes has a pressure ulcer at any given time and PUs affect elderly populations, people with limited mobility and income, disproportionately. In 2009, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) recently stopped reimbursing for any hospital-acquired infection. Moreover, CMS does not cover hospital treatment of pressure ulcers in most instances. Hence, hospitals must treat PUs without reimbursement. Our product can bring high quality treatment at low cost to those who are least mobile and would benefit most from the treatment due to, more often than not, co-morbidities and fragile health status.
Pressure ulcers are a constant and recurring condition in elderly populations. LED light therapy is a common non-invasive procedure done with panels of lights with different wavelength that deliver low-level pulses of light up to three times brighter than the sun to activate skin cells. It works like photosynthesis for the skin – it converts light energy already found in skin cells to promote healing and anti-aging effects.
Direct and indirect benefits: The Microviolet patch can provide hourly monitoring, which can improve our understanding of skin diseases like surgical-site wounds Infection, pressure sores, acne, etc. Physicians can make better decisions on care treatments with the vital data wirelessly communicated in real time. Furthermore, the embedded LED arrays have two important effects, (1) Sanitizing the pad, which covered the wound, (2) therapeutic effect on the skin and wound. Studies show that skin exposed to LED light wavelengths grows 150-200% faster. Therefore, as LED therapy improves the cosmetic appearance of skin, it also promotes the healing of wounds, scars and burns.
Broader Impact: Light therapy treatments involve constant trips to the hospital where the patient is forced to stand awkwardly in front of large, bulky, and non-body-conformal lamps that can deliver light therapy. The visits and equipment involved do not screen for infection, which if tested, would cause significant cost to the patient. Hospitalization time is the main cost driver for wound care for the system. Microviolet can be also considered as a homecare device to reduce the time and cost spent at the hospital.
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