Developers of Bedsore Detecting SEM Scanner Win 2018 Innovative Technology Award
- Posted by: curtislegalwp
- Category: pressure sores
Anything that could revolutionize the early detection of pressure sores should be warmly welcomed by everyone who is involved in the health and aged care industry. The statistics for the amount of harm that pressure sores, or bedsores as they are also called, makes chilling reading. 400,000 people are treated for pressure sores every year in the U.K. alone. The National Health Service spends 4% of its annual budget, a figure of around 2.1 billion pounds, on the treatment and prevention of pressure sores.
It’s not a problem confined to Britain by any means. In the U.S. it has been estimated that 60,000 Americans die of complications arising from untreated pressure sores every year and treatment costs a staggering 11 billion dollars annually.
Theoretically, pressure sores should not be so much of a problem as they unfortunately are. The reasons why they develop are well enough known. Pressure sores may develop in anyone who remains in one position for long periods. However, caregivers and nurses don’t always detect the subtle early stages of pressure sore development because they are changes that occur under the skin in more deeply embedded tissue.
The SEM scanner is a recently invented tool which has been designed to help detect changes in moisture content in deep tissue. The acronym ‘SEM’ stands for ‘sub epidermal moisture.’ The scanner, when used, monitors moisture changes in tissue which could indicate ulcer development. An increase in moisture signals the possibility of an ulcer developing. Health facilities that make use of the scanner are therefore able to detect potential bed sores earlier on than normal and take preventative action. Basically, this means keeping the skin dry, making sure it is clean and relieving pressure points where sores are likely to develop.
The developers of the SEM Scanner, Bruin Biometrics LLC, have just won an award for “Best Innovation in Medical Technology” by the British Health Service Journal. There are indications that many NHS trusts have acquired SEM scanners and have put them to good use.
The tissue viability and nutrition senior clinical nurse specialist at St. Mary’s Hospital, Glenn Smith, said that during the trialled use of the Scanner, they were able to reduce the incidence of pressure sores to zero. Mr Smith said that the use of the Scanner could save as much as £600,000 annually at the hospital and free up over 1,400 hours of nursing time.
At Farnham Community Hospital, a trial of the Scanner by Virgin Care showed a 95 percent fall in the incidence of pressure sores.
Currently, the SEM Scanner has had approval for commercial sale in both the E.U. and Canada, but has yet to get FDA approval in the U.S. where annual pressure sore deaths outnumber deaths from the well publicized opioid crisis.
If trials continue to show how new technology can help to reduce the harm that many older people experience from pressure sores then that will be very welcome news, but it may not stop pressure sores from afflicting bed and wheelchair bound patients everywhere. Pressure sore incidence is worst in places where residents and patients welfare is being constantly disregarded by staff or management. Even if Scanners, or any other early detection tools, are bought and made available there is no guarantee that they would actually be used.
If you do discover that your loved one is in danger of developing pressure sores or has been badly looked after in the institution they are in, you should bring it up with management. If you do not think that enough is being done to deter harm being done, contact a pressure sore solicitor to discuss your legal options.