Michener incorporates Artificial Intelligence into Foot Care program

Chiropody student using the Swift app

According to Diabetes Canada, the amputation of a lower limb occurs in Ontario once every four hours, and according to Wounds Canada, 85 per cent of amputations from diabetic foot wounds are preventable. In an effort to improve this statistic, foot health professionals are seeking better ways to improve the accuracy and efficiency of wound documentation to determine the most appropriate course of action for patients.

That’s why The Michener Institute of Education at UHN is working with Swift Medical to integrate the company’s wound care management technology into the Michener Chiropody Clinic.

“We recognized there was no advanced way that wound care data was being collected except via paper measurement and charting system,” says Catharine Gray, Chair of Chiropody at Michener. “We felt we needed to collect this data in a rich and fulsome way and Swift’s platform is a really interesting application of the technology targeted at providing best patient outcomes.”

Swift Skin and Wound is an app that works on a smartphone or tablet to capture a photo of a wound and instantly measure its dimensions using machine vision technology. The app then guides the clinician through proper assessment, documentation and assists in determining treatment protocol, all while ensuring the entire care team has access to the shared patient record.

The solution uses artificial intelligence to improve accuracy, consistency and objectivity of wound measurements, which in turn enhances quality of care, improves patient outcomes and streamlines clinical workflows. To ensure guidelines surrounding patient privacy, confidentiality and consent were appropriate for use in a Chiropody Clinic, Swift Medical and Michener collaborated with the UHN Privacy Office.

“This is a very valid way to show the patient their own healing progress, that the wound is improving and that it is getting smaller, or vice versa,” says Gray.

Chiropody student using the Swift app

From an administrative level, Swift Skin and Wound’s web dashboard provides complete visibility into wound healing trends across an entire patient population, alerting practitioners to missing documentation, changes in risk, worsening wounds and more. This level of visibility ensures all staff are in compliance with wound care protocols and best practices, driving better patient outcomes and reducing overall costs.

All of this is important because diabetes related foot ulcers are highly preventable and, with the right data, wound care can be delivered in a far more preventative and cost-effective manner, rather than waiting until more intensive treatment is required. Even where wounds already do exist, early intervention can prevent them from becoming more complicated and expensive to manage.

“Working with Michener means that Swift will have the opportunity to test our cutting-edge technological advancements within a world-class clinical setting,” says Phil Wigmore, VP, Business Development at Swift Medical. “It will also allow us to gather first-hand clinician feedback to continually enhance our product and publish new research on the impact of AI-powered wound management.”

Furthermore, wound data gathered by Michener will be added to a greater data pool that can be accessed by other users of the program. This means that health care providers in rural communities could also use this technology to help shape their approach to treating wounds based on previous cases that occurred elsewhere.

“With Michener’s dedication to educating and training the next generation of clinicians, we believe they are the ideal organization to help us advance our technology and ensure it continually meets the needs of the world’s leading health care professionals,” says Wigmore.