Digital Wound Measurement Devices & The Cost of Inaccurate Assessments

Accurate wound measurement is a critical aspect of providing effective post-acute care. Wound measurement allows healthcare providers to monitor and track wound healing progress, adjust treatment plans, and make timely interventions. 

Startlingly, a 2021 study found that traditional methods of clinical examination missed nearly 80% of wounds with high bacterial loads in patients. Left unaddressed, the ramifications of this for skilled nursing facilities could be catastrophic. 

Let's take a moment to talk about the financial effects of incorrect wound assessments, the benefits of using digital wound assessment devices, and the ways that skilled nursing facilities can receive reimbursement opportunities by implementing such solutions.

Financial Consequences of Inaccurate Wound assessment

Inaccurate wound assessment can have significant financial consequences for both patients and healthcare providers.

Costs to Patients

When wound assessments are incorrect, patients are at a greater risk of receiving improper treatment. This can lead to various complications and further medical expenses, such as:

  • Delayed healing: Inaccurate wound assessments can result in inadequate treatment that leads to longer healing times and increased visits to healthcare providers.

  • Infection: Inadequate treatment can increase the risk of infection, resulting in additional healthcare costs and longer recovery times.

  • Unnecessary medical expenses: Patients may receive unnecessary treatments, such as antibiotics or surgeries, that could have been avoided with accurate wound assessments and appropriate treatment.

  • Diminished quality of life: Studies have shown a dramatic decrease in the emotional and physical quality of their lives from prolonged wound treatment. 

Costs to Healthcare Providers

Inaccurate wound assessment can also have financial consequences for healthcare providers. assessments that aren't done correctly can lead to improper billing and insufficient care, which can lead to fines and legal action. Additional costs may include:

  • Reimbursement denials: Healthcare providers may not receive reimbursement leading to lost revenue.

  • Increased legal exposure: Inaccurate wound assessments can result in legal action, such as malpractice claims or billing fraud investigations, leading to additional legal expenses and potential settlements.

  • Additional treatment costs: Inadequate treatment can result in additional medical expenses, such as longer hospital stays, additional testing, more supplies and staff hours, or even emergency interventions.

Inaccurate wound assessments can have significant financial consequences for both patients and healthcare providers. Patients may experience delayed healing, an increased risk of infection, and unnecessary medical expenses, while healthcare providers may face penalties, legal action, and additional treatment costs. 

By using accurate and reliable tools to assess wounds, medical professionals can lower the risk of these financial consequences and give their patients better care. This is where digital wound imaging tools come into the picture.

The Benefits Of Using Digital Wound Measurement Devices

Digital wound measurement devices have become a meaningful way to treat chronic wounds. Digital wound imaging tools make it easier to diagnose wounds and develop targeted treatment plans because they can accurately measure wounds and track their progress more effectively than traditional means. 

Here are some of the benefits of using digital wound imaging tools:

Improved Accuracy

With digital wound measurement devices, you can get a level of accuracy you can't get with your own eyes. Clinicians can make better decisions about caring for a patient when they have accurate measurements and clear images of the wound bed.  

With digital wound imaging tools, doctors can determine where the wound is, measure its depth, and watch how it changes over time. This results in reduced errors resulting from subjective analysis and improved patient outcomes. 

Faster Healing

With data to formulate an effective treatment plan and solutions like the right therapeutic support surfaces, patients can heal faster. It also cuts down on the time they need to spend on care and the total cost of their treatment. 

Reduced Costs

Inaccurate wound assessment can lead to costly errors in diagnosis and treatment, which can increase the cost of care. Early detection is another factor that can reduce costs. Digital wound measurement devices can help detect wounds sooner and with greater accuracy, which results in tremendous cost savings. 

Reduced Legal Exposure and Greater Compliance

With digital imaging, clinicians can have a more accurate and consistent way of measuring wounds, reducing the risk of legal issues and improving compliance. Accurate wound measurement can ensure that healthcare providers meet regulatory requirements for documentation and treatment protocols. 

By reducing legal exposure and improving compliance, healthcare providers can focus on delivering better patient care and improving outcomes.

Increased Patient Satisfaction

Digital imaging solutions can provide greater peace of mind for patients and staff. When patients are happier with their care, they are more likely to stick to their treatment plans, which leads to better results and faster healing.

Better Quality of Care

Digital wound measurement devices give doctors the information they need to make treatment plans unique to each patient and meet their needs. This can lead to better outcomes and a higher quality of care overall. 

With digital wound imaging tools, clinicians can make informed decisions about patient care, leading to better outcomes and a higher level of patient satisfaction.

Reimbursement Opportunities Associated With Digital Wound Measurement Devices

One of the greatest opportunities and benefits of these tools is medical billing and reimbursement. Such devices have the advantage of being simple to implement and bill on the administrative side of the care equation. In fact, there are significant reimbursement opportunities for healthcare providers, particularly in the SNF and LTC settings.

Take the reimbursement pathway for the MolecuLight i:X™. There are CPT codes specific to the procedure for “fluorescence wound imaging for bacterial presence, location, and load”
These codes have been assigned to an APC for hospital outpatient department payments.

By using MolecuLight, healthcare providers can easily bill for the fluorescence wound imaging procedure, leading to cost savings and increased revenue. This is particularly true for facilities that see a high volume of patients with wounds, such as long-term care facilities.

Final Thoughts: Digital Wound Measurement Mitigates Hidden Costs

By using digital wound measurement devices, healthcare providers can improve the quality of care they provide and ensure that patients receive the best possible treatment, all while reducing costs. With the revenue generated from billing, healthcare providers can invest in more advanced wound care technologies and train their staff to provide better care, leading to better outcomes and overall satisfaction.

References: 
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32870774/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7949507/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7099416/

 

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