Underscoring the evolution of wound care as a distinct medical specialty, manufacturers are looking to design and market patient-centered, best practice-based products that address clinical and fiscal concerns. One area of concern is pressure ulcer prevention and treatment — a high priority in terms of a growing population of elderly and increasingly stringent reimbursement regulations.
A major trend underlying medical technology development is a focus on making products more cost effective. One way to keep costs low is to design products that extend wear time, reducing the expense of labor while preserving quality of care. One example is 3M™ Tegaderm™ High Performance Foam Adhesive Dressing, an extended-wear dressing that manages exudate over a longer period of time; the dressings are designed to adhere while exudate evaporates out of the dressing. To address concerns that longer wear time can thwart the ability to assess wound healing, newer clear products (eg, 3M™ Tegaderm™ Absorbent Clear Acrylic Dressing) allow visualization of the wound beneath the dressing. Unlike traditional dressings, these new dressings do not need to be pulled back to monitor healing progress — plus, they remain clean and do not compromise skin integrity.
Other cost-lowering options include designing more concentrated products so less is needed and making some products available as single-dose packets to control the spread of infection and reduce waste. In addition, innovations in multidose packaging will feature new delivery systems that allow the patient to carry the product throughout the care continuum.
Ease of use is a consideration for several reasons. Clinician turnover, especially in long-term and home care, is a challenge in terms of technique training and mastery. To help clinicians more easily identify specific products depending on patient need, 3M recently updated its Cavilon™ Professional Skin Care product line with new packaging. Also, multilayer compression for venous ulcers involves the ability to wrap several layers of dressing. Some products are applied at 50% of full strength; for the inexperienced practitioner, this may be difficult to gauge. 3M’s Coban™ 2 Layer Compression System is applied at full strength to reduce application variability and to ensure the patient receives the proper amount of compression, regardless of clinician skill with compression wrapping.
Patient comfort continues to be a critical consideration, not just in terms of dressing fit and wear time, but also with regard to ingredients. As such, fragrance-free products with no added scents are gaining global popularity.
To ensure patient-centered, best practice-based care, companies know they must provide not just cost-effective products, but also a great deal of tech support that facilitates product ease of use. Manufacturers must be cognizant of and responsive to patient and caregiver needs and prove, repeatedly and with conviction, that while it is subject to the ebb and flow of trends, quality of care is not “trendy.”
Product development focus appears to fall within several distinct categories, based on the nature of different wound needs and the benefits wound management products might provide:
- Surgical Wounds
- Traumatic Wounds
- Chronic Wounds
Wound management challenges fall along the spectrum of least to highest difficulty from surgical wounds (clean wounds with defined margins and managed clinically at onset) to traumatic wounds (frequently involving multiple layers and more surgical intervention to manage) to burns (multiple layers and possible grafting need) to chronic wounds (high product use to manage exudate, moisture, infection, other challenges).
See the 2013 MedMarket Diligence Report #S249, “Wound Management, Worldwide Market and Forecast to 2020: Established and Emerging Products, Technologies and Markets in the Americas, Europe, Asia/Pacific and Rest of World.”