Coalition of industry leaders to deliver streamlined wound care via telehealth to support skilled nursing facilities at no cost
CHICAGO, IL., April 14, 2020 - The Life Care Center nursing facility in Kirkland, Washington, is widely considered ground zero for the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. In a matter of weeks, the virus ripped through the facility and killed at least 35 residents. By the end of March, over 400 skilled nursing facilities across the country had at least one positive case of COVID-19, nearly doubling from the week before.
The high density and vulnerability of residents living in skilled nursing facilities amplifies both the spread and consequence of COVID-19. To protect their residents, many skilled nursing facilities have begun to bar non-essential staff from entering their facilities. While these policies help to curb the transmission of the virus, they can increase health risks for residents that require complex care, such as those with chronic wounds. More than 25% of skilled nursing facility residents have at least one complex wound that often requires daily or weekly treatment, which is typically supported by external care providers. These wounds, if untreated, can rapidly lead to infection, hospitalization, amputation, and death.
To address this challenge, forward-thinking leaders have come together to form the Telewound Coalition: a trusted, best-practice collective of clinical experts, healthcare providers and technology innovators working together to provide access to immediate, remote wound care throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The Coalition’s objectives are to ensure access and continuity of wound care, to preserve the health and safety of our most vulnerable patients and care providers, to prevent further spread of the virus, to decrease demand on personal protective equipment (PPE) and to alleviate hospital capacity pressures.
“Skilled nursing facilities have experienced the very worst of the virus and they need support,” says Carlo Perez, Founder and CEO of Swift Medical. “The innovative solutions we create today will not only ensure continuous and compassionate care now, but will also permanently shape the future of care delivery.”
The Coalition represents an industry-first, collaborative approach to better integrating our diverse, wound care ecosystem. Working together are expert wound care organizations, such as AmeriWound and the Wound Care Education Institute (WCEI); EMR technology providers, including Netsmart; wound supply distributors, such as American Medical Technologies (AMT); and leading healthcare providers, including Genesis and ProMedica. Each of these organizations play a vital role in supporting the patient and, together, will optimize the delivery of wound care across the country. This challenge transects geographies and care settings and requires a unified and symbiotic strategy to make an immediate and lasting impact.
“The COVID-19 epidemic is continuing to force us to reevaluate our perspectives on patient care,” states Pamela Scarborough, Director Public Policy and Education with AMT. “The Coalition will provide mentorship and knowledge related to best practices and open avenues for securing critical supplies and support needed for wound care during COVID-19.”
Through this unique collaboration, the Coalition is able to immediately connect over 2,000 wound care nurses and doctors with a network of over 3,500 healthcare facilities across all 50 states. Swift Medical will provide the underlying technology to power this connectivity with its new Telewound module, which will enable staff in skilled nursing facilities to initiate a secure, remote consultation with expert wound care doctors and nurses - to ensure timely and appropriate care. The Coalition will also work to produce, disseminate and embed wound care best practices across skilled nursing facilities during COVID-19.
“Telehealth capabilities are essential to meeting the challenges of COVID-19,” states Dr. Richard Feifer, Chief Medical Officer of Genesis HealthCare. “This model helps limit the risk of exposure to the virus and promotes the safety and wellbeing of our patients/residents, center staff, medical providers, and consultants. This is especially important as we have limited all outside medical appointments across our network of skilled nursing facilities except for those which are medically necessary and time sensitive such as dialysis and chemotherapy.”
“To respond to the demand for beds for COVID-19 patients, hospitals are rapidly moving patients from higher levels of acute care to the home and other care settings. Netsmart clients are at the forefront of post-acute care where there has never been greater adoption of virtual patient care,” says Dawn Iddings, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Post-Acute with Netsmart. “Netsmart care providers across home health, hospice, private duty, assisted/independent living and skilled nursing are requesting help and the Swift wound care solution gives our clients what they need at this time.”
The Coalition's collaborative model will enable thousands of virtual visits a day, ensuring skilled nursing facilities can access wound care resources and support, while limiting the need for external care providers to enter facilities under quarantine. Given the rapidly evolving nature of the pandemic, the Coalition will continue to expand its membership and amass additional expertise, resources and capabilities needed to support patients and their providers throughout this crisis.
"WCEI is proud to join the Coalition," says Nancy Morgan, Co-Founder for WCEI. "We are excited about expanding the reach of our Wound Care Education to ensure every American can access wound care, anywhere."
The new Telewound module will be made accessible to skilled nursing facilities at no cost. Those facilities currently using Swift Skin and Wound will have automatic access to the new telewound module. Other facilities can request access to Telewound via their current wound care provider, EMR provider or by contacting Swift Medical.