Clinical Translation of a Device and System for Preventing the Development of Pressure Ulcers

The Opportunity

Pressure injuries (PI) are common, costly, and debilitating chronic wounds that occur across all healthcare settings, especially inpatient. It is estimated that there are over 2.5 million hospitalized and critically ill patients with pressure injuries annually. The management of these injuries costs the healthcare system between $9 and $11 billion each year. The standard of care for preventing PI development is manual or automated bed repositioning or turning on standardized time intervals.

Our Approach

The goal of this project was to validate the first single-use, disposable device capable of performing continuous pressure monitoring to prevent pressure injury development and progression. The patch is a thin, flexible waterproof device that integrates flexible circuitry capable of measuring pressure and transmitting data to a remote software user interface.

Functional prototypes of the pressure injury detection patch were capable of accurate and repeatable pressure measurements. The project sought to test the feasibility and safety of the device in a clinical setting, demonstrate the feasibility of a pressure-sensitive-device to continuously record skin pressure in ICU patients, and observe repositioning practices and compatibility of the device with clinical workflows in the ICU.

Dr. Westman, Dr. Sacks, and their team developed a survey to identify barriers to PI prevention and how to best integrate the device into their workflow. The survey was sent to 163 wound-care and ICU nurses. The top three barriers to PI prevention emerged as hemodynamic instability, multiple devices in place that lead to PIs, and oxygen instability. Nurses strongly agreed that knowing pressure levels would lead to repositioning patients, if the patient was stable. Additionally, they noted that a disposable pressure-sensing device or mat would be useful in PI prevention.

The Solution

The final report for this project is not complete, so please check back at a later time for more information about the outcomes of this project.