Dress for Success, Automatically: IDG and ATV Wrap Big Bucks Around Robotic Wound Treatment
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machine than a classic robot) screen allow a nurse, doctor, or other health care practitioner to input factors such as the length, width, and depth of a wound, as well as its level of drainage and, eventually, the type of medicine that should be dispensed on the dressing. In less than two minutes, the machine will then cough up a precisely sized, multi-layer dressing in a heat-sealed, sterilized packet that the health care provider opens and then places on the wound. As Greeley describes it, “You kind of press play and a minute later it drops it out like you ordered a can of Coke.”
Creating dressings with superior physical properties to those currently on the market and cutting them to size—and in future versions applying medicine exactly where needed on the bandages—-could minimize waste and improve the effectiveness of treatment, the firm believes. As an added benefit, although the company isn’t emphasizing this aspect of the system yet, the system is being developed to store the information that nurses enter about the changing size and geometry of a wound as if it were a series of diagnostic snapshots, helping medical personnel to track the healing process and assess what treatments work best—and potentially providing the documentation to justify Medicare reimbursements. In some cases, Greeley notes, a nurse might take a picture of a wound with a digital camera, download the image wirelessly into the device, and let the robot figure out the size of the dressing—skipping part of the input process. Greeley says the machine can store 30 days’ worth of supplies.
PolyRemedy’s machine is being tested at two facilities right now, with a half-dozen or so beta sites planned for later this year, says Eckert, a health care veteran who joined the firm in August to help lead it to commercialization. “We plan commercial launch in 2009,” he says.