March 2018

WPI researchers developing App to track and analyze chronic wounds

Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have received a 4-year, $1.6 million National Institutes of Health grant to develop a smart phone app that will allow patients and their caregivers to track and assess chronic wounds, including diabetic wounds to the feet and legs, and arterial, venous, and pressure ulcers. This has implications for decreasing medical costs and identifying complications before they lead to hospitalizations and amputations.

Patients or their caregivers will be able to use the app to photograph a chronic wound, and algorithms built into the app will measure wound assessment metrics, including size, depth, and color, which indicate how the wound healing is progressing, and will compare the readings over time to determine if the wound is shrinking or expanding, and other changes that could indicate a complication. The app will also compute a healing score that tells the patient whether the wound is getting better, is unchanged, or is worsening. Finally, the app will suggest that the patient stay the course, consult a wound specialist for treatment advice, or seek immediate care.

The project is based on an app developed by Emmanuel Agu, PhD, associate professor of computer science and coordinator of WPI’s Mobile Graphics Research Group, and his research team to help people with diabetes track and manage their weight and blood sugar levels, and also photograph and assess the status of any chronic foot ulcers. Agu will build on the wound assessment component of the original app.

Editor’s note: This story was adapted from materials provided by WPI.

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- Emily Delzell

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