New advances in pressure ulcer prevention and management: an Australian perspective
09/02/10 | Pressure ulcers, Service development and delivery, Skin integrity | Keryln Carville
Introducing mobile phones for electronic data collection
Mobile phones were used by WoundsWest to allow surveyors to record data on every wound found during the three consecutive state-wide wound prevalence surveys. This innovative paperless data collection method used smart phone technology and ComCare™ Mobile, which had been developed and provided by Silver Chain and previously used by community nurses to record and upload wound assessments and management plans at the bedside. During the surveys, wound locations were plotted on a human outline ('digiman') on smart phone screens using ComCare™ Mobile technology (Fig 1). The data was then uploaded and accessible immediately for remote analysis.
Fig 1. ComCare™ Mobile on smart phone used for data collection.
Wounds were broadly categorised as acute (surgical and trauma), pressure ulcers, skin tears, leg ulcers, burns, malignant lesions and 'other' – the prevalence of all wounds was 49% in 2007, 48% in 2008 and 43% in 2009 [10-12].
Pressure ulcer prevalence was reported to be 11%, 12% and 9% respectively, which demonstrated a 33% decrease in pressure ulcers between 2008 and 2009. An increase of 44% in the number of pressure ulcer risk assessments performed was found when the data from 2007 data was compared to that from 2009 .
A pressure-redistributing device was found to be in situ in 21% more patients in 2009 as compared to 2007  and it was determined that 4,236 bed days were saved in 2009 due to the 6% reduction in hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, resulting in a significant saving to WA Health of $3.7 million .
INTRODUCING INITIATIVES THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE
As a result of the WoundsWest surveys and the availability of reliable pressure ulcer data, new initiatives were implemented including:
- A mattress replacement and pressure redistribution equipment programme for public hospitals across the state 
- The distribution of patient literature on pressure ulcer prevention on admission 
- The WoundsWest Online Wound Management Education Program (see below).
An innovation in pressure ulcer education
Western Australia's WoundsWest Online Wound Management Education Program is a core component of the WoundsWest Project. It involves the interdisciplinary development of 16 online wound management education modules, which are designed to assist clinicians and health services to deliver best practice in wound management and reduce preventable wounds and adverse wound management outcomes.
- New data collection tools include the use of mobile phones with smart technology to record data electronically for immediate analysis
- Results from the state-wide surveys led to a number of initiatives including an online wound management programme