Technology Tackles the Pressure Ulcer

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , May 7, 2013

Pompeo hastens to add that a bed a third the price is not necessarily a bed a third the quality. But beds "have taken a hard hit," and he says data from the MAP system will shed light on which beds are better, and which are not, in terms of their tendency to promote pressure ulcers.

As for the price of this technology, Pompeo says it is roughly equivalent to the cost of renting the bed itself, which is somewhere in the $15-20 per day range. Giving the enormous cost of treating pressure ulcers, that seems affordable. And the cost of sensors is riding its own downward cost curve down, as most any other technology.

During the study, patients also loved having the MAP system at the bedside. "Their families would become very engaged, start paying attention to it and sort of understand it," Pompeo says.

As for caregivers, the reaction has been more subdued, but the good ones realize that the technology can show management that they are doing their job properly.

Response to the Wounds study is still rolling in, but Pompeo did talk at a National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel event with officials from CMS. "They were quite interested, because they want to do this evidence-based medicine and really try to be proactive with things, so we'll see," Pompeo says.

I came away from my conversation with Pompeo inspired to look for more applications of low-cost, ubiquitous sensors throughout healthcare. The Internet of Things promises a revolution in the inside and out of hospitals, and the healthcare benefits now seem to be within our grasp.

Scott Mace is senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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