Inter-rater agreement and checklist validation for postoperative wound assessment using smartphone images in vascular surgery.
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE:Surgical site infection (SSI) is the most common nosocomial infection, in vascular surgery patients, who experience a high rate of readmission. Facilitating transition from hospital to outpatient care with digital image-based wound monitoring has the potential to detect and to enable treatment of SSI at an early stage. In this study, we evaluated whether smartphone digital images can supplant in-person evaluation of postoperative vascular surgery wounds. METHODS:We developed a wound assessment checklist using previously validated criteria. We recruited adults who underwent a vascular surgical procedure between 2014 and 2015, involving an incision of at least 3 cm, from a high-volume academic vascular surgery service. Vascular surgery care providers evaluated wounds in person using the assessment checklist; a different group of providers evaluated wounds by a smartphone digital image. Inter-rater agreement coefficients for wound characteristics and treatment plan were calculated within and between the in-person group and the digital image group; the sensitivity and specificity of digital images relative to in-person evaluation were determined. RESULTS:We assessed a total of 80 wounds. Regardless of modality, inter-rater agreement was poor when wounds were evaluated for the presence of ecchymosis and redness; moderate for cellulitis; and high for the presence of a drain, necrosis, or dehiscence. As expected, the presence of drainage was more readily observed in person. Inter-rater agreement was high for both in-person and image-based assessment with respect to course of treatment, with near-perfect agreement for treatments ranging from antibiotics to surgical débridement to hospital readmission. No difference in agreement emerged when raters evaluated poor-quality compared with high-quality images. For most parameters, specificity was higher than sensitivity for image-based compared with "gold standard" in-person assessment. CONCLUSIONS:Using smartphone digital images is a valid method for evaluating postoperative vascular surgery wounds and is comparable to in-person evaluation with regard to most wound characteristics. The inter-rater reliability for determining treatment recommendations was universally high. Remote wound monitoring and assessment may play an integral role in future transitional care models to decrease readmission for SSI in vascular or other surgical patients. These findings will inform smartphone implementation in the clinical care setting as wound images transition from informal clinical communication to becoming part of the care standard.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Current wound assessment practices are lacking on several measures. For example, the most common method for measuring wound size is using a ruler, which has been demonstrated to be crude and inaccurate. An increase in periwound temperature is a classic sign of infection but skin temperature is not always measured during wound assessments. To address this, we have developed a smartphone application that enables non-contact wound surface area and temperature measurements. Here we evaluate the inter-rater reliability and accuracy of this novel point-of-care wound assessment tool.<h4>Methods and findings</h4>The wounds of 87 patients were measured using the Swift Wound app and a ruler. The skin surface temperature of 37 patients was also measured using an infrared FLIR™ camera integrated with the Swift Wound app and using the clinically accepted reference thermometer Exergen DermaTemp 1001. Accuracy measurements were determined by assessing differences in surface area measurements of 15 plastic wounds between a digital planimeter of known accuracy and the Swift Wound app. To evaluate the impact of training on the reproducibility of the Swift Wound app measurements, three novice raters with no wound care training, measured the length, width and area of 12 plastic model wounds using the app. High inter-rater reliabilities (ICC = 0.97-1.00) and high accuracies were obtained using the Swift Wound app across raters of different levels of training in wound care. The ruler method also yielded reliable wound measurements (ICC = 0.92-0.97), albeit lower than that of the Swift Wound app. Furthermore, there was no statistical difference between the temperature differences measured using the infrared camera and the clinically tested reference thermometer.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The Swift Wound app provides highly reliable and accurate wound measurements. The FLIR™ infrared camera integrated into the Swift Wound app provides skin temperature readings equivalent to the clinically tested reference thermometer. Thus, the Swift Wound app has the advantage of being a non-contact, easy-to-use wound measurement tool that allows clinicians to image, measure, and track wound size and temperature from one visit to the next. In addition, this tool may also be used by patients and their caregivers for home monitoring.
Project description:Chronic wounds, including pressure ulcers, compromise the health of 6.5 million Americans and pose an annual estimated burden of $25 billion to the U.S. health care system. When treating chronic wounds, clinicians must use meticulous documentation to determine wound severity and to monitor healing progress over time. Yet, current wound documentation practices using digital photography are often cumbersome and labor intensive. The process of transferring photos into Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) requires many steps and can take several days. Newer smartphone and tablet-based solutions, such as Epic Haiku, have reduced EMR upload time. However, issues still exist involving patient positioning, image-capture technique, and patient identification. In this paper, we present the development and assessment of the SnapCap S